Monday, April 30, 2007

Algore: Environmental Foreign Policy Blundering

Algore's at it again. Some country tries something and he criticizes.

In Toronto to present his global warming documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" at an environmental show on Saturday, Gore said, "In my opinion, it is a complete and total fraud. It is designed to mislead the Canadian people."

Environment Minister John Baird shot back with a statement later Saturday, saying, ""It is difficult to accept criticism from someone who preaches about climate change, but who never submitted the Kyoto Protocol to a vote in the United States Senate, who never did as much as Canada is now doing to fight climate change during eight years in Office, and who has campaigned exclusively for hundreds of Democratic candidates who have weaker plans to fight greenhouse gases than Canada’s New Government."

"It is equally regrettable that the former U.S. vice president decided to speak out without ever having been briefed on the contents of our plan," said Baird.

"The fact is our plan is vastly tougher than any measures introduced by the administration of which the former Vice President was a member."

Good going Al!
The Conservatives' plan outlines intensity-based emissions targets that will not be implemented until 2010, and will have no hard caps on emissions. The government's announced target is by 2020 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 20 percent below the 2006 level.

Based on this plan, Canada will be in violation of international law and will be the only Kyoto Protocol nation to have reneged on its commitments.

Gore said he was surprised to see that the Conservative plan uses the concept of "intensity reduction," which he said is a "poll-tested phrase" developed in Houston by the so-called think tanks financed by polluters.

I'm not certain that they would be in violation of international law. Technically, they are a part of Kyoto, but withdrawal from such treaties isn't illegal or unprecedented. I'd also like to know the truth behind the statement that the reneged on their commitments, when in fact it has been reported that essentially none but a very few of the Kyoto participants will meet their goals.

The article does quote the government as stating that they can't meet the Kyoto requirements mainly because the previous government did nothing to even start controlling green house gasses, and that it is just too late to reach those goals. Then the rest of the article is off with the liberals and greens calling for draconian measures to meet the goals. Brilliant that. When they had the power to legislate reform, they did exactly what Algore did, nothing.

No One's Listening? - No Kidding

Niall Ferguson looks at the fact that no one really appears to care about the consequences of Iraq.
No doubt, President Bush will veto the bill. But it is significant that only one presidential candidate is now sticking by the president's policy of a "surge" to bring Baghdad under control as a first step towards stabilisation. Although I am one of those advising John McCain on foreign policy, I had nothing to do with the speech he made in the Senate a month ago, which spelt out with unflinching clarity the three likely consequences of a premature American exit:

1. A "real prospect" of genocide in Iraq if sectarian violence spirals out of control

2. "Massive humanitarian displacement, growing Iranian influence and wider bloodshed" throughout the region

3. The degeneration of Iraq into a new "failed state", ideally situated to provide a haven for terrorist organisations like Somalia and Afghanistan in the Nineties.

McCain is surely right about this. At the very least, we need to contemplate such a worst-case scenario, rather than blithely assuming that an American withdrawal will somehow improve matters - a far less likely scenario. What's more, McCain argues on the basis of unmatched experience, including real military experience. None of the other candidates has so much as tried on a uniform.

Yet according to the opinion polls, his "Straight-Talk Express" is currently lagging behind their Hot-Air Balloons. That strikes me as yet another sign that Americans don't want to face the reality that they are at war - and about to admit defeat.
"Admit defeat?" Hell, most of the country is calling for defeat. And yes they are ignoring everything he listed and forget that this will have consequences in economics and security, not just for the US but for the rest of the world. McCain is the only one standing squarely on the right side of this, though it is one of the few things he's been getting right.
What went wrong in the Seventies? Clearly, it was more than just the loss of South Vietnam, which turned out not to matter much (to the United States, that is). More significant were the economic consequences of Lyndon Johnson's attempt to have both guns and butter: war in Vietnam plus the "Great Society" welfare programme.

What were, by our standards, quite modest deficits and quite minor balance of payments problems translated into a creeping inflationary pressure, not least because of the strength of organised labour and the weakness of the Federal Reserve. When the Middle East blew up in 1973, sending oil prices sky-rocketing, the United States was swept into an inflationary spiral that neither Richard Nixon nor Gerald Ford nor Jimmy Carter was able to halt.
Can we expect similar problems with a failure in Iraq? Ferguson seems to think so. I think it will quite obviously have a fairly large impact considering the security of the whole region will be destabilized, and that doesn't typically cause a drop in the market price of oil.

But the Dems seem to think that there are no consequences that will make problems for the US, so why not just bug out.

Then there is the Infrastructure study which apparently from the MSM reports tells of the US extreme incompetence. Though it fails to do any really analysis of the issues or who actually owns responsibility for things like maintenance.
A severe lack of maintenance appears to be threatening the future usefulness of some of the facilities renovated during the effort to rebuild Iraq, says a new report from the U.S. inspector general monitoring reconstruction.

Inspectors from the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, which is charged with reviewing Iraqi reconstruction projects that are financed by the U.S., visited eight facilities throughout the country, to determine whether the buildings were operating at full capacity.

What the inspectors discovered is that, even though those facilities had been completed and declared to be successes, and subsequently met the stated "objectives" of reconstruction, they were not functioning properly.
The question that immediately comes to mind is "who is responsible for maintenance?" And, does this reporter really think that the US should maintain the facilities in perpetuity? No doubt there should be some irritation if the facility was built wrong, but considering that the projects were likely built by local contractors, does that make this as much of a sign of US incompetence as this report would have you believe. And if this report is so indicative of failure, what did they have before? The MSM provides much print space and air time to those bellowing for withdrawal, but then puts forward reports like this that call for US maintenance programs? Seems a bit hypocritical unless their intention is to put the US effort in Iraq in a very bad light.
While officials said the eight sampled projects could not be the basis for solely judging the success or merits of U.S.-backed reconstruction efforts in Iraq, the functionality of the facilities raised serious concerns about the rebuild effort, which to Washington has been almost as important as a military victory.
Oh yes, eight projects don't define success, but the press certainly is using it to maximize political damage here at home. Wonder if the report shows any successes? Doubtful, since that would be an inconvenient balance of truth. Nor does the reporter bother to address the benefit of even a substandard facility compared to a nonexistent one.
"These first inspections indicate that the concerns that we and others have had about the Iraqis sustaining our investments in these projects are valid," Stuart W. Bowen Jr., who leads the office of the special inspector general, told The New York Times for an article published Sunday.
That is a truly odd way of looking at it. The only return the US can expect from any investment is stability. The Iraqi's are the one's who must maintain and utilize the facilities to their benefit. If they choose not to, there is little the US can do.

This also is quite blind as to what other benefits were gained from these projects. Ignoring the jobs and money that were provided to the local people is foolishness. The facilities themselves continue to be signs that the US wants the local people to be safe, the real issue comes with the Iraqis deciding on whether they want to continue to have the benefits of the facilities and support them going forward. But, obviously this report throws the blame squarely on the US as the problem rather than those who must "stand up" at some point if they want to benefit from the initial investment.

Makes you wonder who makes these reports, and why they can't be bothered to be clear as to who is responsible for the up keep after the facility is provided.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Some Excellent Reading

Some interesting articles linked from the Volokh Conspiracy.

Lynne Stewart disbarred.
A civil rights lawyer convicted of helping an imprisoned terrorist sheik communicate with his disciples was disbarred Tuesday.

The New York Supreme Court's Appellate Division denied Lynne Stewart's request to voluntarily resign from the practice of law.

About Freakin' time.

More companies filtering web content to block blogs.
Blogs are known to be a free-for-all for "expressive" content, but according to a new report by ScanSafe, a vast majority of blogs host content that is considered "offensive" and potentially "unwanted." ScanSafe's Monthly "Global Threat Report" for March 2007 says that up to 80 percent of blogs host offensive content, ranging from "adult language" to pornographic images. The company suggests that businesses should be aggressive about preventing users from accessing some or all of this material. And of course, they'd hope that you'd use their products to do so.

ScanSafe says that it discovered the "offensive" nature of blogs by analyzing more than 7 billion web requests coming from their corporate customers. In doing so, they apparently learned that the so-called blogosphere is a lot like a George Carlin performance: diverse, sometimes entertaining, and loaded with "bad words."

In addition to so-called offensive content, about six percent of blogs analyzed in March also hosted some sort of malware. "Blogs are a great vehicle for self-expression and the exchange of ideas," said ScanSafe's VP of Product Strategy Dan Nadir in a statement. "Employees visiting these sites can unknowingly expose corporate networks to legal liability, viruses, and loss of proprietary information."

I can see the warning on legal liability in some cases, but the contention that visiting a blog will expose you to viruses or loss of proprietary information is horse-shit. If they post to a blog cooperate information, then maybe there is the loss, or if the down load a file from a link on a blog they could be exposed to a virus, but just visiting to read one doesn't do either. (Should I also mention that they could just as easily lose proprietary info at multiple other venues, like email? Going to block access to that? And as to virus exposure, if the company isn't smart enough to have anti-virus software installed, then they deserve the cooperate Darwin award.)

David Kopel debating "Should we be concerned that so much of the rest of the developed world believes U.S. gun laws are crazy?"

Not going to quote just link. Go and read Debate 1 and Debate 2 also.

McCain-Feingold Suppression of Political Speech Act Getting Limited?

This piece of legislative feces is actually having some difficulty with the Supremes.
Supreme Court justices yesterday expressed serious concerns about the legality of key portions of the McCain-Feingold Act, raising the possibility that the court may strike down or sharply limit part of the landmark campaign-finance law heading into the 2008 presidential election.
"This is the First Amendment," Justice Antonin Scalia told lawyers defending the McCain-Feingold Act. "We don't make people guess whether their speech is going to be allowed by Big Brother or not. If you are going to cut off the speech, there ought to be a clear line. . . . And you're not giving us any."

Scalia has long maintained that many types of restrictions on campaign financing violate the Constitution; in previous opinions, however, he has been in the minority when the cases were decided. In 2003, for example, the court upheld the first challenge to the McCain-Feingold Act by a 5-to-4 vote, with Justice Sandra Day O'Connor joining the court's four liberals in the majority.

But the moderate O'Connor has retired, replaced by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., a more conservative judge. If the new court rolls back the McCain-Feingold Act, corporations and labor unions will be able to buy political ads more freely during the 2008 election. A decision is expected by June.
One can really hope.

As you know I think there shouldn't be any limits period. Anyone who finances candidates should be allowed to, though there contribution must be publicly reported or the record completely available to everyone within 24 hours of donation. And no secretive masked groups.

Yeah I know, not much posting

Been exceptionally busy. Finished my 40 hour work week yesterday and am onto more.

Well, I'll post something today.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Online Presidential Debate????????????

Lots of question marks, because this seems so bent that it make Fox look middle of the road.
Here's news guaranteed to tickle anyone who, like me, is both a geek and a presidential-campaign junkie: Yahoo, Slate, and the Huffington Post have announced that they're going to cohost the first-ever online presidential debates during the 2008 campaign. There will be one for Democratic candidates and one for the Republicans, and both will be hosted by Mr. Charlie Rose.

The press release doesn't have a lot of detail, other than that the debates will be held after Labor Day of this year, and that the Democratic one will have opening remarks by DNC Chairman Howard Dean. So I have a few questions. Such as....
The Puffington Host? Yahoo? Well, at least slate is somewhere closer to the center. I wonder who chooses the questions. The article asks several other questions, but I'm pretty amazed that this is being slated as anything be exceptionally warped. The Dems will probably get a fair debate, but the sponsors have no reason not to distort the Repubs out or all reality, so why would they choose to participate?

Read Arianna Puffington's statement:
“With presidential candidates announcing online and with campaign ads and fundraising increasingly online, presidential campaigns are moving to the Internet at breakneck speed. Online debates are the inevitable next step,” said Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post. “We are thrilled to be joining with Internet pioneers Yahoo! and Slate to host the first online presidential debates, and to have Charlie Rose as our moderator. These debates represent a further merging of new media technology and politics, and are a great opportunity to bring more people into the political process, and engage the new generation of young voters who spend so much of their time – and get so much of their information – online.”
I'd be less skeptical if Glen Reynolds or one of his genre of Bloggers was participating, but this is far to suspiciously bent left. With the Dems boycotting anything that is co-sponsored by Fox, can this actually be seen as a advantageous debate for the Rebubs?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Bloomberg's Grandstanding on Gun Control

Shocker, Bloomberg is ranting about gun control. And twisting the facts into a distorted reality all his own.
The senseless loss of life at Virginia Tech breaks our hearts. And every day, nearly 30 people are murdered in the United States. We ask ourselves, what can be done to stop this kind of gun violence? As mayor of the country's largest city, I have asked myself that question many times. In New York, we've cut murders by 40 percent compared with six years ago. But eight police officers have been gunned down in the line of duty in that span—eight young men who were protecting us.
"What can be done to stop this kind of gun violence" is an interesting posture since he quotes a decrease in the number of murders, but doesn't bother to state that the number of murders isn't solely related to guns. He stands there and yelps about the police deaths, but ignores that they are logistically incapable of protecting the citizens of the city. The reality of police "protection" is that it usually entails a clean up crew and finding the offender. With that level of protection, I'd rather depend on my firearm.
FBI statistics show that violent crime is on the rise across America, and the news out of Virginia has again raised the critical issue of keeping guns away from the people who should not have them—criminals and those with a history of being potentially dangerous. There are questions about whether a background check should have prevented the Virginia Tech shooter from purchasing the guns. Regardless, the fact is that most crimes are committed with illegal weapons—and that is where the new gun debate is, or at least should be, centered. In New York, we aggressively go after these guns, but no city can stop the flow of illegal firearms alone, just like no city can stop the flow of illegal drugs alone. These are national problems that require national leadership.
His question about whether Cho should have gotten a gun is foolish, since anyone who has done any reading at all understands that his "mental illness" wasn't documented into the NICs system due to it being related to a voluntary stay in a mental institution. There is no question that it was legal. Don't like that fact, then change the law, and understand the civil liberties backlash that will accompany it.

As for his "new" focus in the gun debate, when did this become new? Illegal guns and the illegal activities with them has always been the issue. Especially for those of us who believe in the Second Amendment. I love the use of the illegal drugs comparison. They've done so well there haven't they. The laws are substantially more draconian, and yet the use of drugs hasn't varied greatly over time.
Unfortunately, in recent years, combating gun crime hasn't been a priority of this Justice Department or Congress. Actually, that's understating it. Congress is undermining our local efforts by handcuffing our police departments.
Shocker, he's coming out on the Gun crime database again. His argument, as you can read at the link is that police should have unfettered access to the data. Let's forget those privacy rights or the fact that the original owner is a victim of a crime. I'm certain he has no intention of taking action against the innocent, just like he didn't commit a crime in instituting a conspiracy to commit a felony by paying agents to perform straw purchases in other states.

He goes into boasting about that:
Last year, I was talking with Boston Mayor Tom Menino, and he was just as frustrated as I was about the lack of action by the federal government. So we did something about it. Along with 13 other mayors, we started a coalition called Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Our goal: to find creative ways to rid our streets of illegal guns. One way that our city has done that is by conducting an undercover sting operation against a group of dealers in five states whose guns kept turning up in crimes in New York.
Yep, that's right, they were creative in how they chose to violate federal law. Funny how the glacial investigation of Bloomberg's little conspiracy has yet to bring any findings. I wonder if they're just waiting until it gets stale and then they can ignore his illegal activities?
Now, the conventional wisdom is that we'll never persuade Congress to do anything because members are too afraid of the special interests. But our strategy is to change the terms of the debate. The fact is, there's common ground on this issue for anyone who is willing to look at it honestly, not ideologically. This isn't about gun control. It's about crime control.
Nice words, but that's not what he's doing. It's nice to hear the words related to idealogy, but he hasn't followed through and he continues to blame others for the illegal activities that his own constituency are perpetrating. But it's the gun dealer's or the Fed's fault.

His finale:
Will we succeed? In my own brief political experience, I've found that pragmatism beats ideology. So yes—and sooner rather than later.
Don't hold your breath Bloomberg. Your activities haven't solved anything, and have only managed to prove your willingness to trample others rights for your supposed concerns over crime.

The Polls

So the pollsters had a field day with the VT shooting. AP-IPSO has the Terrified woman poll and Zogby has the "it doesn't matter" poll. No real change in the standing on the issue as far as I can see. The terrified woman poll has been getting more coverage from what I can see.

Here's the screamer line from the terrified woman poll:
Women were nearly twice as likely as men to say gun laws should be tightened, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll.
And more than half of all those polled said they are ashamed the Virginia Tech shootings could happen in this country.
This isn't really news. The stats have always fallen somewhere near this level. The "Ashamed" numbers are foolish. Wonder how they asked that question. Why should anyone be ashamed?

Then the Zogby poll gives us this jewel:
While 59% don't think stricter gun control policies would help, 36% believe they could make a difference by helping to prevent future shootings. More than two in three Americans (69%) believe the recent shootings at Virginia Tech were the actions of a deranged man determined to inflict mayhem and could not have been prevented. But 16% believe stricter controls of guns and ammunition would have prevented the tragedy.
Again, nothing really new.

The end game will be to see where this goes in legislation. The level of over reaction is usually pretty hefty from the usual suspects. The question is, will the politicos step into the fray and upset the gun-rights advocates. This group has typically been the group that does substantial damage to the one proposing restrictions, and the Dems in particular don't have that large of a majority to withstand a challenge from this group.

Friday, April 20, 2007 Without a Clue

Here is another reason these guys really need to get a life. McCain has that completely right.
The liberal group is launching an ad against Republican John McCain and his joke about bombing Iran, arguing that the nation "can't afford another reckless president."

The group plans to spend about $100,000 to air a commercial on network and some cable television stations in Iowa and New Hampshire, states that hold early contests in the presidential nomination process, spokesman Alex Howe said Friday.

Not sure who they think they are going to convince, since I think the Middle ground gets the fact that it was a joke. Well, good luck to them in convincing there supporters, who are already convinced.

Glorifying Cho: The MSM Debate

Debate? Or, more likely, defending their actions to gain viewers.
NBC aired the footage on Wednesday evening and was quickly followed by rivals ABC and CBS. But those networks distanced themselves from the decision on Thursday and said they would limit future broadcasts of the video. NBC itself said it would use restraint.

Some media experts labeled the move as an effort to improve NBC ratings and questioned whether giving 23-year-old Cho an outlet for hate-filled rants served the public interest.

"It was a very bad decision," said Paul Levinson, chairman of the communication and media studies department at Fordham University. "He's not a public official, he's not a terrorist we are pursuing as part of our government policy. He's just an individual psycho."

Others said the video provided a window on Cho's motives that could help in future cases, however painful the images may be to victims and their families.
Cho's motives? He was broken, dumb-ass. An analysis of his ravings would provide perspective that would be much more valuable than showing the ravings of an individual that wasn't in control.

And as Bruce's post and commentors reminds us these are the same people who wouldn't show comics of Mohamed because of their sensitivity to the Muslim community. Protect the minority, to hell with the majority. Nice bit of perspective there.

Electronic Monitoring, Not Just for Criminals Anymore

Ok, so it's not that bad. Probably a good idea in lots of ways.
The science minister, Malcolm Wicks, today defended his suggestion to track elderly people with satellite-monitored tags, but said the government has no concrete plans to pursue the idea.

Mr Wicks raised the possibility of using satellite technology to help families or carers to track the whereabouts of "an 80 or 90-year-old who may have Alzheimer's" at a hearing of the Commons science select committee yesterday.

His comments attracted criticism from civil liberties groups, but charities including Help the Aged and the Alzheimer's Society have cautiously welcomed the idea.

Sad, but a reality that technology can help. There is a section of the elderly population that do reach extreme mental disability, and this would help to protect those who wander away from their homes.

The civil liberties groups have a pathetic argument against.
Shami Chakrabarti, director of civil liberties campaign group Liberty, raised concerns about "gimmicks" to replace expensive care. "A debate about better care for the elderly is a good thing but technical gimmicks often provide cheap and quick fixes rather than dignified and possibly expensive care," she said.
Oh, right, it's a gimmick because it would allow the elderly to stay with their family rather than be warehoused away, at high cost, in some institution. Surely that is better than personal care by the family maximizing their involvement in society to the maximum practical extent.

Sprinting to Defeat

Harry Reid, not satisfied with legislating interference with the military and the commander in chief moves on to declaring all is lost.
Senate majority leader Harry Reid said yesterday that the war in Iraq is "lost," triggering an angry backlash from Republicans who said the top Democrat had turned his back on the troops.

The bleak assessment, the sharpest yet from Reid, came as the House voted 215 to 199 to uphold leglislation ordering troops out of Iraq next year. Reid said he told Bush on Wednesday that he thought the war could not be won through military force, but only through political, economic, and diplomatic means.

"I believe myself that the secretary of state, secretary of defense, and — you have to make your own decisions as to what the president knows — [know] this war is lost and the surge is not accomplishing anything as indicated by the extreme violence in Iraq yesterday," said Reid, a Nevada Democrat.
The surge hasn't even reached its peak, yet he's written it off as a failure. There's a reasonable assessment. The military at least is being guardedly optimistic about the effects, but Reid can't be bothered to listen. I'm wondering where he gets his intel. And how he can manage his daily life with his head so far up his ass.

The reality of the surge is that there will be a relative calm at the start, then a back lash of violence, specifically aimed at stirring up violence between the sects and managed primarily by the foreign insurgents. Then there will be counter and parry between the two for a period. The telling part is whether the Iraqi people choose to join the insurgents and fall into a hot civil war or join their present government and try to bring resolution and peace.

Reid's contention that there is no military part to this situation is incredibly foolish, and completely blind to the historical facts regarding insurgencies. This ignorance makes one ponder as to what his motives are in this statement.

The MSM in some instances aren't helping either. This "Article" is interesting in its posture.
President George W. Bush and fellow Republicans struggled on Thursday with comparisons between the U.S. wars in Iraq and Vietnam as the Senate's top Democrat declared the Iraq war lost.

A day after a White House meeting with lawmakers failed to resolve differences over whether to attach a troop withdrawal plan to a war funding bill, Bush and the Democrats continued their feud from afar.

Asked to compare Iraq to Vietnam, a war that still weighs on the American psyche three decades after it ended, Bush told an Ohio audience a premature U.S. withdrawal from Iraq could lead to chaos and death the same way war broke out between Vietnam and the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia after the fall of Saigon in 1975.

"After Vietnam, after we left, millions of people lost their life. My concern is there would be a parallel there," Bush said, adding that "This time around, the enemy wouldn't just be content to stay in the Middle East, they'd follow us here."
Struggled? How specifically did they struggle? Or is that a bit of opinion leaking in that is obviously distortion or the facts they present? First the President was asked to make the comparison, and his answer as reported is quite accurate, if limited.

In fact, their own report shows Reid as the one that was factually challenged.
Later Thursday on the Senate floor, Reid said: "As long as we follow the president's path in Iraq, the war is lost. But there is still a chance to change course -- and we must change course." The war funding bill should contain a timeline to "reduce combat missions and refocus our efforts on the real threats to our security," he said.
This statement ignores that there are political, economic and informational efforts being performed in Iraq and they are supported by the military effort. I'd love to ask Reid how he expects those efforts to ever have any effect if no stability and security can be established. How would those efforts ever come to fruition without security that only the military can bring?

No doubt the Dems learned the political lesson of Vietnam which branded their party as weak on foreign policy and completely incapable of following through in a war. They parse their words very carefully to ensure everyone knows how patriotic they are and how much they support the troops, while they put road blocks to their activities, like timetables and screeches for withdrawal. They have learned the lesson of perception much better than the Repubs in this case, and since the majority of the citizenry only have shallow perceptions of the reality of Iraq and the effects of losing there, no doubt the Dems have a better political standing.

The question still remains, what if we fail, then what? The Dems have the appearance of a "if we leave they'll be nice" attitude, or the containment strategy. Neither of which will work. Not to mention the world perception of failing would further weaken the US in efforts to stabilize areas of interest.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Glorifying Cho

The MSM has been pretty pathetic on this whole thing. Between pasting the ravings of this very broken person and the severly bent "gun debate" they have shown no class at all. Bruce over at No Looking Backwards (mAssBackwards) has a message for the MSM.
April 18, 2007

Dear Asshole,

Fuck you. You lose.


- Bruce M., No Looking Backwards
- DCE, Weekend Pundit
- Jim, Free New Hampshire
- Mashby, Stark Raving Mad
- Countertop, The Countertop Chronicles
- Jay G., MArooned
- Weer'd Beard, Weer'd World Arrrr
- Tom H., Freedom Under Fire
I got a good laugh out of that.

The commentary on the entry is relevant and frankly I completely agree.

Mental Health and Gun Ownership

I found this linked in a blog entry by David Berstein at the Volokh Conspiracy. Bernstein's piece relates to the issues with the college dealing with the mentally ill and the Americans with Disabilities Act. That's a little different than what I'm looking at, but it is related.
The new information raises questions about whether warning signs about Mr. Cho’s behavior and problems were handled effectively by police and the university.

Asked about the court document, the associate vice president for university relations, Larry Hincker said: “That is total news to me.”

“Shouldn’t the university have known that?” a reporter shouted as he left the room.

The police spoke with acquaintances of Mr. Cho’s and became concerned that Mr. Cho might be suicidal. Officers suggested to Mr. Cho that he speak to a counselor and he did so. He went voluntarily to the police department and, based on his meeting with the counselor, a temporary detention order was obtained and Mr. Cho was taken to a mental health facility, Carilion Saint Albans Behavioral Health Center.
The issue here, and the one that the reporter appears to be completely clueless on, is that even if Cho was mentally ill, there was nothing the University could do about it because of the ADA. Bernstein and a commentor:
Serious question: If you are a university official, and become aware of a court document like this [the Times does not say whether Virginia Tech officials knew about it], or other strong evidence that a student is mentally ill and potentially violent, is there anything you can do about it (other then recommending counseling) without violate relevant federal laws banning discrimination against the "disabled?"

UPDATE: Commenter Hans Bader writes:

It's not clear.

And I say that as someone who used to handle cases involving the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act for the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education.

The law governing K-12 schools, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, is still worse, affirmatively coddling violent students who claim to have behavioral or emotional disabilities.

Courts have construed it as requiring schools to not expel violent disabled students under the statute's "stay-put" provision....

State disabilities laws are also sometimes broader than the ADA or the Rehab Act, making life even more difficult for businesses and schools.

That is informative. I suppose in some cases I can understand the protections though when those protections move into the realm of forcing the innocent to stand in harms way because of foolish legislation, I'm thinking there needs to be a change. Because the law fails to separate risks from disability rights, you have codification of rights that supersede those of the rest of society.

With that said, this is an indication of the problem with the NICs system and the failure to report violent mental disability. I understand that mental disability that disqualifies the individual from carrying is extremely vague and not at all limited to those with violent tendencies. The problem I see is that there are many people who seek assistance with issues that will never become violent. Depression is one of those cases. And personally, I find it unlikely that I would risk the loss of my rights by seeking assistance with depression.

Unfortunately, the other side of this is the issue with the incompleteness of the NICs system due to the failure of the legislation to put together a system for reporting. The vagueness of the requirement also makes this worse.

With all the yelping by the likes of Rep. McCarthy, you'd think that this is a simple issue. I'd say it most definitely is not. The reporting system needs to be clearly defined on what is disqualifying and what is not. Those definitions don't exist, and frankly, leaving those definitions to the politicians concerns me greatly. These are the same politicos that can't read legislation prior to voting and you think they should define what is a disqualifying mental issue? I watched Tucker Carlson ask McCarthy what a "barrel shroud" was last night on his show and she indicated she didn't know but believed it was, from her description, a collapsible stock. Carlson stated that the term barrel shroud is one of the items that is used to define an assault rifle in the newly proposed assault weapons ban. If the person pushing the legislation doesn't even understand what that part of the gun is for, how can they be depended on to make an intelligent assessment?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Gun Control Debate

Not sure the debate will ever get fair on the topic. I watched four debates on various news agencies, and frankly, they didn't even invite any strong second amendment advocates. Most were just sad enablers of the gun control crowd.

So I think I'll look more at Politicians and what they say related to this.

Charlie Rangel:
"It's a regional thing; it's a cultural thing," Rangel said, arguing that even in areas where 85 percent of the population supports more restrictions on the sale of guns, the 15 percent minority is far more active and outspoken. "It's a cult: 'Don't take my guns from my cold dead hands."'
Yeah Charlie, your stats are as bent as you are. Funny that you fail to quote the stats that most Americans believe you have a right to own a gun. Also neglect that those who do criminal acts with guns already violate multiple laws, which obviously they couldn't care less about. But he it's a cultural thing, not people trying to survive in a world that doesn't allow them the money for a body guard. Want to be Charlie has someone protecting him?

And if it's a cult, then what should we consider your little religious following in all thing?

Harry Reid:
"I think we ought to be thinking about the families and the victims and not speculate about future legislative battles that might lie ahead," said Reid, a view expressed by other Democratic leaders the day after the shootings that left 33 dead on the campus of Virginia Tech.
I don't like Reid, but that was the right thing to say.

"I believe this will reignite the dormant effort to pass commonsense gun regulations in this nation," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat who was a leader in the failed drive to renew a ban on certain types of assault weapons that expired in 2004.
No doubt. Stating the obvious isn't difficult. But as a senatorial hypocrite, who has had federal concealed carry permits, why should she be held to her word.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., was one of very few lawmakers to defer pushing for gun control in the early hours after the shootings. "There will be time to debate the steps needed to avert such tragedies," he said on Monday, "but today, our thoughts and prayers go to their families."
Hmm. Another appropriate response.
By coincidence, Kennedy and Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., are scheduled to attend a demonstration Friday at a firing range used by U.S. Capitol Police to draw attention to microstamping, a procedure by which serial numbers are placed on ammunition casings. The goal is to allow police and other investigators to quickly track ammunition to the gun that fired it.
Well, at least he's not completely without a political posture. Microstamping? God, that tells you loads. Another completely useless technology that will only make shooting sports excessively expensive and won't make a dent in crime. A stolen gun with microstamping will still be lethal and still won't stop the criminal. But we will know the dealer that sold it and the person who had it stolen. But they are the innocents that will be punished by this idiocy.

Overall, though, said Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., "It is a tough sell" to pass gun control legislation. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., held a brief meeting on the subject to discuss possible legislation, including a proposal for an instant background check for gun purchasers. But there was no apparent eagerness by Reid, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., or her to predict Democrats would lead a drive to toughen existing laws.
McCarthy was an unbalanced add on to one of the debates I caught on the tube. Factually challenged and willing to cherry pick stats, but unwilling to give credence that people should be able to defend themselves. And she clearly stated that she wasn't for complete abolition, just get rid of those nasty scary guns.

Pelosi's proposal is a bit weird. The NICs check is essentially instant now. As much as any other method could be. There's no doubt that they will not open the NICs check process to a more easy to use or publicly available system. In fact, the shooter at VT got his weapons legally. So that legislation is completely without merit in this case.

Larry Craig:
Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, one of Congress' most persistent advocates of gun rights, noted that the student who police say was the shooter at Virginia Tech had brought a weapon onto campus in violation of restrictions. He said he doubted a law could be passed that would protect "any of us when somebody who is mentally deranged decides to do this."
That's right. And as further proof of that thought and extending it to criminal action, let's look at a shooting in JAPAN.
Japanese police were trying to determine what may have motivated a high-ranking Nagasaki gangster suspected of shooting the city's mayor at close range Tuesday, fatally wounding the politician and conjuring dark memories of political violence in Japan.

Nagasaki Mayor Itcho Ito died early today of blood loss and heart failure about six hours after being struck twice in the back by shots fired on a busy sidewalk in front of a major Nagasaki train station. The mayor had just stepped out of a van after a day of campaigning in the southwestern Japanese city perhaps best-known as the second city devastated by an American atomic bomb in 1945.
Yep, Japan. The country where private gun ownership is completely forbidden. Yet, a criminal got a gun and killed someone. Imagine that. No guns allowed, can't get any more restrictive then that. Yet the criminal ignored the law. Amazing.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Democrats Agree with Al-Sadr Loyalists

Both agree that setting a timetable for American withdrawal (against the wishes of both and US President and the Iraqi government) is the best way to achieve "victory" in Iraq - which given that Sadr's goal is to take over leadership of the country as much as possible, tells you what a brilliant strategy it is for achieving a safe, secure, democratic Iraq. Go Dems! Don't let reality stand in the way of scoring political points!

Virginia Tech and the Next Round of Gun Control Legislation

News today will go from the actual event to the propaganda war on gun control. This, as most gun owners understand, is the normal progression of things in the MSM. The first day rarely has much discussion of it by the big talking heads, but it only takes a day to turn this into a further attempt to restrict the rights of the law abiding citizen.

The LATimes is fairly typical:
Monday's deadly rampage at Virginia Tech sparked a largely one-sided response in the long-running debate over guns.

Gun control advocates said the shootings pointed to the need for tougher laws, while supporters of gun rights generally kept their heads down.
I always like that they seem to want everyone to believe that the gun owners are hiding from the event, instead of the reality that gun advocates are waiting for all of the information, rather than going ballistic over what happened. Most gun rights advocates want to know whether the guns were legally owned or stolen and more about the situation before making statements that will later be held to account.
And leaders of both major political parties expressed sympathy for victims and their families, while avoiding comment on gun control.

In brief remarks from the White House, President Bush expressed the nation's grief over the carnage in Blacksburg, Va. "Schools should be places of sanctuary and learning," he said. "When that sanctuary is violated, the impact is felt in every American classroom and every American community."

Bush, a longtime champion of the right to bear arms, said nothing about the gun control debate.
Why would Bush say anything about gun control? Why would he dilute the message of sympathy to discuss something that is a peripheral issue at the immediate time of the event? Of course, that is a wonderful way of vilifying the President. But they are fair and balanced in their coverage of his presidency so there is little doubt that they must be fair here. (/sarcasm).
However, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y), whose husband was among six people killed by a gunman who opened fire on a Long Island Rail Road train in 1993, added a political note to her statement of sympathy. "The unfortunate situation in Virginia could have been avoided if congressional leaders stood up to the gun lobby."
McCarthy, on the other hand, dove right in to stand in the blood and preach. She doesn't know any more than anyone else does about the facts, but it must all be because there aren't enough gun laws.
Virginia's gun laws make it easy to buy and own firearms, including handguns, and the state often has been criticized as the source of guns used in crimes in the Washington area and other East Coast cities. But it is not known what role, if any, state laws may have played in the Blacksburg killings.
Virginia's laws make it easy? What do they do, hand out chits that give you a free gun? As for the "source of guns" concept, that just doesn't fly. We here that in NH about Boston gun crime all the time. The problem with the argument is still the issue of Washington's criminals committing a crime by stealing or acquiring by other illegal means, firearms from another location. Does anyone believe that they will obey another law when they flagrantly disregarded the existing gun laws?

Interestingly they do report on similar reactions by the NRA and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.
The National Rifle Assn., the nation's leading gun lobby, expressed its condolences but said, "We will not have further comment until all the facts are known."

Joshua Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, sounded an equally cautious note. "I can't say how this will play into the debate until we know how old the shooter was and how he got his guns."
Now, from the start of the article, the NRA must be "keeping their heads down" while the the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is doing what? Sometimes reporters surprise you.

Another report from CQToday gives us the babbling of the politicians that was essentially ignored by the rest of the MSM.
Gun control advocates in Congress quickly cited the Virginia Tech shootings as evidence of the need for tighter firearm restrictions.

“I believe this will reignite the dormant effort to pass common-sense gun regulations in this nation,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Monday. The California Democrat has led efforts to renew the expired ban on so-called assault weapons (PL 103-322).

Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said gun control legislation “could be” a possibility. “Let’s find out what the facts are,” Specter said.
No surprise from Feinstein. Being in that league of having had a federal concealed carry permit, and no doubt having private security, she can call for more restrictions on those of us that can't afford body guards.

And when is PA going to dump that imbecile Specter?

The article ends with a timeline on the Gun Manufacturer Liability Act. Not sure why, but there it is.

The Blogsphere will be warming up to the topic shortly as well. The Puffington Host had this to say:
The political response to the unspeakable tragedy at Virginia Tech can go two ways.
#1: Put the responsibility on the citizenry. Encourage people to be more suspicious of each other, and to report anyone they think might rampage.
#2: Put responsibility on the soft gun laws that allow anyone who wants guns to obtain as many of virtually whatever they want, especially at gun shows, where in Virginia there are no regulations or background checks.
The first is quite interesting, since that is exactly what the libertarians, and most gun rights advocates, want of the citizenry on all topics. Though I wouldn't phrase it that way. Why is it that if someone is acting insanely or dangerously we are being suspicious of them and not just seeing the obvious. Am I being suspicious of someone hiding in a dark alley or being prudent in my assessment of risk? Maybe he just didn't mean it the way it came out. (Not that I believe that.)

The second one is quite funny as well. Background checks are required of all firearms purchases from dealers. Private sales in nearly all states do not require them, even in many of the most draconian gun-control states. The contention that you can just buy a gun anywhere, especially gun shows without a background check is completely factually challenged.

Oddly I found this entry at the scienceblogs.
I'm down in Chile observing at the moment. I woke up to get lunch. The TV is always running here, even if nobody is watching. (It kind of drives me nuts.) Well, today, the news is awful: at least 21 people killed in a shooting rampage in a college in Virginia.

Another astronomer, not an American, watching, says, "They need gun control."

Isn't that always the response? There's a horrible tragedy with guns, and our first instinct is to further restrict the legality of guns. Now, I know that most of the science bloggers here are firmly in favor of gun control, and indeed that most of the world thinks America is nutty in terms of how legal guns are already. But I think that this "we need more gun control!" that is cried whenever there is a highly publicized gun tragedy is part of a larger, and dangerous, pattern.

Something bad happens. It horrifies us. It scares us. We want to feel protected, we want to feel that others are safe and protected. We go to what is practically a feudal response: put the government, put our feudal masters, in more control over us, so that people can't go and do terrible things like that.
Interesting statement.

I won't bother looking at any gun rights advocate sites. The response there will be obvious.

Well, no doubt this will escalate into a shouting match shortly. Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Bill Whittle's Latest

No commentary, just a link.

Very long, and interesting as usual.

Bloomberg's Lying and the NYTimes is Carrying the Propaganda

No real surprise. Just more talking points for Bloomberg with distortion of facts against the NRA.
“Tentacles!” shouts the headline over a cartoon illustration of Mr. Bloomberg depicting him as a giant octopus, looking fierce and slightly insane, with serpentine arms swirling behind him. Inside are a main article, two sidebars and a column devoted to the idea that Mr. Bloomberg, as the cover puts it, is extending “his reach, and his illegal antigun tactics, across America.”

The issue, dated this month, was sent to as many as 600,000 of the N.R.A.’s 4 million members at a time when Mr. Bloomberg has been intensifying his efforts and as mayors across the country continue to sign on to the fight. On Thursday, Mr. Bloomberg and his coalition, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, launched a Web site,, and announced a media campaign urging Congress to drop a provision, supported by the N.R.A., that limits the release of data about guns recovered in crimes.

I love the name of Bloomberg's gun grabber website. He should named it
Nestled among ads in America’s 1st Freedom for cigars, concealed gun holsters and imitation diamond rings are articles focusing on that provision and the Bloomberg administration’s undercover sting operations to catch gun dealers outside the city who had been improperly selling their merchandise and whose guns had been linked to crimes in New York. Bloomberg officials have used those investigations in lawsuits to pressure the dealers into submitting to monitoring by a court-appointed special master.
No mention that none of the firearms dealers that were involved in Bloombergs illegal "sting" were charged with illegal activities. There were a couple that caved in to his civil suit, but I've yet to hear of the BATFE bringing any charges. Including any charges against Bloomberg for his illegal straw purchases and conspiracy to commit a felony.

Yet most telling is the quote from Bloomberg's staff:
For their part, Bloomberg administration officials, who emphasize that their fight is against criminal possession and use of guns and has nothing to do with Second Amendment protections, are taking the criticism as something of a compliment.

“I think it’s fair to say we have gotten their attention,” said Edward Skyler, the deputy mayor overseeing the gun effort. “It really shows how they talk out of both sides of their mouth, claiming to be against illegal guns while doing everything possible to undermine efforts to crack down on them.”

Right. Skyler is also apparently talking out of his ass since he seems to be ignoring the illegal activities that Bloombergs little conspiracy committed. He also plays the idiocy of claiming that the NRA is inconsistent on the Tiahrt amendment. The point of that legislation was to protect gun owners who have had weapons stolen from them from becoming the focus of the crimial activities with those weapons. Not to mention the release of their identities to the public for having committed no crime.

Look at their website:
The “Tiahrt Amendment” is named for its original sponsor, U.S. Representative Todd Tiahrt (R-KS). The Tiahrt Amendment is a provision that members of Congress have tucked into federal spending bills that restricts cities and police from accessing and using Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) trace data from guns recovered in crimes.
  • No access to a city’s own aggregate crime gun data.
    The Tiahrt Amendment restricts local governments from accessing the ATF gun trace data they need in order to understand and address citywide and regional gun crime trends.
  • No access to data from other cities and states.
    The Tiahrt Amendment prevents local governments and police from accessing ATF gun trace data from areas outside its geographic jurisdiction, greatly undermining regional efforts to control gun crime.
  • No access to or use of gun trace data for efforts to hold accountable dealers that break the law.
    The Tiahrt Amendment blocks trace data from being used as evidence in any state or local civil action—even a gun dealer license revocation.
  • No access to national ATF reports.
    The Tiahrt Amendment stops ATF from publishing reports that use gun trace data to analyze nationwide gun trafficking patterns.

Note anything odd? The completely ignore that the information is available related to specific criminal investigation, but are denied blanket access to the database. I've yet to see them justify a need for it other than for statistics. Why they would need detailed information on all those involved in the database. Considering that the BATFE already does the stats on all this information and is the one in charge of interstate firearms crime, I would state that the bases are already covered.

Their website is also a perfect example of propaganda of half truths. You'd think this thing was set up by the Brady bunch. They quote the stat that 50 LEO were killed by firearms in 2005, and fail to mention that a majority of them were taken from the officers themselves. There is also the convenient stats on increase in aggravated assault without pointing out that violent crime overall has been on the decrease. Anyone that is actually interested can follow the links to the FBI data and see that they fail to do any analysis beyond the most general numbers. I'd say that is distortion on a grand scale.

The FBI data is actually really nice. They allow it to be downloaded in Excel format, so even you can analyze it if you desire. Of course, it would also take an interested party to do this work. (and obviously Bloomberg is getting the information that is most convenient to his cause.)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

More Moore Stunts

It's nice to see that the fat farce from flint is still creating "truth."
Filmmaker Michael Moore's production company took ailing Ground Zero responders to Cuba in a stunt aimed at showing that the U.S. health-care system is inferior to Fidel Castro's socialized medicine, according to several sources with knowledge of the trip.

The trip was to be filmed as part of the controversial director's latest documentary, "Sicko," an attack on American drug companies and HMOs that Moore hopes to debut at the Cannes Film Festival next month.

Two years in the making, the flick also takes aim at the medical care being provided to people who worked on the toxic World Trade Center debris pile, according to several 9/11 workers approached by Moore's producers.

But the sick sojourn, which some say uses ill 9/11 workers as pawns, has angered many in the responder community.

I wonder if this "documentary" will be as factual as as his past "documentaries."

Saturday, April 14, 2007

War Humor

Seen at OPFOR:

“If you're in a war, instead of throwing a hand grenade at the enemy, throw one of those small pumpkins. Maybe it'll make everyone think how stupid war is, and while they are thinking, you can throw a real grenade at them.” ~Jack Handy
You gotta love quotes like that.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Blogger's Code of Conduct

The geekWife forward this on to me. I'm not sure I agree with all of this, but it would help. The only problem I have with the whole thing is it deals with civility and ignores truth.
Two leading citizens of the Web, Tim O'Reilly and Jimmy Wales, have proposed a "Bloggers Code of Conduct." The reason for this code is the phenomenon of people posting extremely nasty verbal comments about other people on Web sites devoted to political and social commentary. For Mr. O'Reilly, a publisher and activist for open Web standards, the last blogospheric straw involved a friend whose suggestion that it was OK to delete offensive comments from Web sites earned her a backlash of vitriol on several sites, with one posting a photo of her alongside a drawing of a noose.

It is appropriate that this line should be drawn in the ether of the World Wide Web, whose controlling ethos up to now has been that speech and expression should remain free, unfettered and--the totemic word that ends all argument--"democratic." As it developed, too many of the Web's democrats, for reasons that have provided much new work for clinical psychologists, tend to write in a vocabulary of rage and aggression.
The admission of need for something called a Bloggers Code of Conduct is about more than just the Web. The deeper import of what may be happening here should be evident in Mr. O'Reilly's remark, which was the final sentence in a long New York Times article on the subject last Sunday: "Free speech is enhanced by civility."

It is difficult for me to imagine a more revolutionary sentence. One might call it "subversive."

"Free speech is enhanced by civility." The revolution comes at the end of that sentence. Free speech we know about. Civility we have forgotten. Ask Don Imus.

Subsets of civility would include courtesy, respect, politeness and deference. Civility is a public virtue. Like oil or wheat, it is a necessary social commodity that allows society to function.
I must say that I'm generally more civil on the blog than I am in person. Frankly, I don't suffer fools lightly, and those that know me understand that. From the traffic at this site, I don't have a lot of worry about having conflicts often.

I looked up the BCC and had a read of their proposal.
Here's the first draft:

We celebrate the blogosphere because it embraces frank and open conversation. But frankness does not have to mean lack of civility. We present this Blogger Code of Conduct in hopes that it helps create a culture that encourages both personal expression and constructive conversation.

1. We take responsibility for our own words and for the comments we allow on our blog.

We are committed to the "Civility Enforced" standard: we will not post unacceptable content, and we'll delete comments that contain it.

We define unacceptable content as anything included or linked to that:
- is being used to abuse, harass, stalk, or threaten others
- is libelous, knowingly false, ad-hominem, or misrepresents another person,
- infringes upon a copyright or trademark
- violates an obligation of confidentiality
- violates the privacy of others

We define and determine what is "unacceptable content" on a case-by-case basis, and our definitions are not limited to this list. If we delete a comment or link, we will say so and explain why. [We reserve the right to change these standards at any time with no notice.]
I suppose I agree with most of that. If you're just out to attack someone, then you're not really worth reading. I'm a bit uncomfortable with the "just delete it" attitude though. This ignores that someone may actually have a factual argument, though their delivery may be abusive. So I'll go with the reserved right to change the standard to my liking. If you're just abusive, screw you. If you have a point, I'll leave well enough alone, though I may ask you to be a bit more polite.
2. We won't say anything online that we wouldn't say in person.
Hell, that's easy. I'm already more civil in the blogsphere then in the real world.
3. We connect privately before we respond publicly.

When we encounter conflicts and misrepresentation in the blogosphere, we make every effort to talk privately and directly to the person(s) involved--or find an intermediary who can do so--before we publish any posts or comments about the issue.
Well, that depends. If you're a raving jack-ass, you get the barrels right away. If you're just a light weight jerk, ok.
4. When we believe someone is unfairly attacking another, we take action.

When someone who is publishing comments or blog postings that are offensive, we'll tell them so (privately, if possible--see above) and ask them to publicly make amends.
If those published comments could be construed as a threat, and the perpetrator doesn't withdraw them and apologize, we will cooperate with law enforcement to protect the target of the threat.
I guess this one comes to the line of figuring out what is really hazardous and what is hot air. If it's not just wind, then I agree. Though I'm not going to parse the words to a level where I start trying to psychoanalyze what's being said. "Unfairly" is a very slippery term. Life isn't fair, and if you're a dolt, you shouldn't be protected. (Hmm. I wonder if that is something like blogger Darwinism.)
5. We do not allow anonymous comments.

We require commenters to supply a valid email address before they can post, though we allow commenters to identify themselves with an alias, rather than their real name.

Valid email address? Right. That's about as big an allowance for anonymity as you can get. Hell, my nom-de-guerre is my email address on this blog. Gets you pretty much no where. Lame rule.
6. We ignore the trolls.

We prefer not to respond to nasty comments about us or our blog, as long as they don't veer into abuse or libel. We believe that feeding the trolls only encourages them--"Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, but the pig likes it." Ignoring public attacks is often the best way to contain them.

For the most part this is good advice. Though I see little harm with kicking a pig once in a while. Especially if it's my blog.

This all really comes down to a point that I think SayUncle puts fully into perspective, and these codes seem to ignore.
Remember, I do this to entertain me, not you.
If I stop enjoying this, I'll just stop. I don't go to blogs that I don't find informative or at least interesting. SayUncle also points out in a recent entry why people blog.
Some say: But uncle doesn’t write much original content. They’re right, I don’t these days. This post and many others acknowledge that. I just ain’t feeling it. I think there are stages of blogging:

Stage 1: You start the blog because you got shit to say.

Stage 2: You say your shit, no one cares.

Stage 3: Having said your shit, you start criticizing or praising other people’s shit.

Stage 4: People notice you criticizing or praising their shit. People start to care.

Stage 5: You realize you get more input and affirmation when criticizing or praising other people’s shit. And it’s easier. (I think SayUncle is about here)

Stage 6: You just link shit and occasionally talk about shit you got to say.

Stage 7: You’re weary of talking shit. Same shit, different day.

Stage 8: You no longer have shit to say.

And that’s that.

So, the bottom line is: Remember, I do this to entertain me, not you. If it no longer entertains me, I’ll stop.

Clear as mud?

Update: Anon in comments recommends Stage 9: you give up blogging, then occasionally post something insightful on other peoples blogs.

And and the SSDD reference in Stage 7.

This is key perspective that I completely agree with.

And the thing that is ignored in this whole BCC is truth. Far too much of what comes into blogs is frankly factually challenged. The really good ones you can depend on to have their facts straight. The really bad ones are not worth reading in any case. Let's be honest and have a bullet that states if you can't back a statement up with a link to a reliable site, then it's not a fact. This should leave the burden of proof on the person making the statement, and not the blog where the comment pops up.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Racism's Ugly Face

Remember those monsters from the Duke Lacrosse team?
Three former Duke University lacrosse players Wednesday were cleared of all charges that they assaulted a stripper during a team party, ending a case that widened the fissures of race, gender and class in North Carolina.

The North Carolina attorney general’s office announced that after a 12-week investigation it was dropping all charges against the three, including sexual assault and kidnapping, and sharply blamed the local district attorney for a rogue prosecution.

“The result of our review and investigation shows clearly that there is insufficient evidence to proceed on any of the charges,” North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said at a news conference. “Today we are filing notices of dismissal for all charges. The result is that these cases are over, and no more criminal proceedings will occur.”

The state office took over the case when Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong was accused of ethics violations in connection with the case. Cooper was especially harsh in comments directed toward Nifong.

Calling the men victims of “a rush to condemn,” Cooper said flatly: “We believe these three individuals are innocent of these charges.”

I seem to recall that Nifong was accused of taking these actions for the purpose of getting the black vote in his district. I also recall that the especially loud voice of Al Sharpton calling for the heads of these men.

Now we have Imus' big mouth and the backlash from Sharpton and their ilk. The scarring is especially troublesome.
"This event has scarred me for life," said a Rutgers player in the Imus wars. One would have thought Imus himself might have said that, except his visage has been pretty well scarred since at least his earlier days in pre-rehab. But to return to that Rutgers dribbler -- doesn't living in New Jersey leave lifetime scars? Wouldn't losing to Tennessee in the NCAA women's final have added a few new ones? What about the many days during which she and the rest of humanity were kept blissfully in the dark about what Imus had said back on April 3rd? Wouldn't not knowing have created even more scars than knowing now has?
Scarred for life? Well, aren't you the delicate flower. Wonder if the Duke Lacrosse players were scarred? They were condemned, falsely, by their college and it's administration, they were condemned by the media, they were condemned by the Black caucus of loud mouthed preachers. And they were innocent. I can empathize with the Rutger's Basketball team, but frankly, if that comment scarred you, you really need to get out into the world a bit more. Thicken up that skin. Maybe listen to rap music more.

Michelle Malkin goes into the hypocrisy of the whole Imus thing. Not that it excuses Imus, it just gives a little perspective of where the players stand.

Which news story is getting the most play? Looks like Imus is at the moment. I'm kind of happy MSNBC fired him. He's a jerk, and a very liberal one at that. I understand he's a shock jock and pushing the envelope of good taste is how they make money, but I'm thinking that the public purse likely finished him off here. Sponsors don't want to be associated with this.

I caught Jesse "himeytown" Jackson on FoxNews. He's pretty much up there with the other hypocrites. I'm sure he's just doing the yelping for the good of the players.

I found this quote interesting:
Seligman said he did not know how other suspects, who lacked financial and family resources, could prove their innocence.

“I truly hope you never have to experience what we did,” he said.

That is quite telling. It makes you wonder how many people are railroaded into jail each year just for lack of resources to fight people like Nifong.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Gingrich and Kerry Environmental Debate

I linked the WaPo article, frankly, because it was far fairer than those seen in the NYTimes or the Boston Globe.
Yesterday's global-warming debate between John Kerry and Newt Gingrich was, as the moderator put it, "advertised as a smack-down and a prizefight." But those labels were too modest for Kerry.

"Welcome to our environmental version of the Lincoln-Douglas debates," the former Democratic presidential nominee told the crowd in the Russell Caucus Room. "We flipped a coin, and I picked Lincoln."

God I hate John Kerry.
Before Kerry got a word in, Gingrich conceded that global warming is real, that humans have contributed to it and that "we should address it very actively." Gingrich held up Kerry's new book, "This Moment on Earth," and called it "a very interesting read."
Oh that must of ticked him off.
The warm and fuzzy Gingrich surprised Kerry, who jettisoned prepared remarks that accused the former speaker of "marching in lock step with the climate-change deniers." Instead, Kerry found himself saying: "I've always enjoyed every dialogue he and I have ever had." He added that "your statement is very, very important" and gushed: "I frankly appreciate the candor."
But don't bother to think this was a pleasant debate. Partisanship is pretty much impossible to remove from these two.
Even his one big difference with Kerry -- Gingrich favored tax incentives to reduce carbon dioxide rather than a government "cap and trade" program -- was negotiable. "I am not automatically saying that coercion and bureaucracy is not an answer," he granted.
This point is interesting and a bit galling. Strange how a Dem wants the US to be all fuzzy and nice in foreign policy when dealing with state sponsors of terrorism like Syria, but when it's our own people they want to start the caning. As for Gingrich, purely going by incentives will ensure resistance that will cause delays in any serious change. The best thing to do is to use both, start with the incentives, but build legislation that has a punishment for non-compliance.
Kerry appeared uncomfortable as Gingrich impersonated Al Gore. The senator tapped his foot, drummed his fingers, folded his arms and looked around the room with a crooked grin. He tried, at first, to lure Gingrich into a confrontation. "The essence of what I just heard from Newt," he said, is that climate change is "not such a crisis that we have to respond quickly."

Gingrich protested this mischaracterization. "We're not arguing over whether it should be urgent," he said.

Kerry persisted: "We're arguing over the level of the urgency."

"The question of urgency isn't what's being debated here," Gingrich repeated.

Finally, Kerry relented. "I'm excited to hear you talk about the urgency," he said. But "what would you say to Senator [Jim] Inhofe [R-Okla.] and to others in the Senate who are resisting even the science?"

Gingrich didn't hesitate. "My message," he said, "is that the evidence is sufficient that we should move towards the most effective possible steps to reduce carbon loading of the atmosphere." The pro-Kerry crowd applauded.

"And do it urgently?" the senator pressed.

"And do it urgently, yeah," the former speaker replied. "I think there has to be, if you will, a green conservatism," he added.
Interesting. This definitely looks like Gingrich is in the position of a more moderate Repub. This debate hasn't been about whether global warming is happening for some time. Most of the arguments have been on how much is caused by humanity. The far left claims all and that we're on the road to apocalypse. The far right claims none, and that this is all natural. Both points are out of whack with reality. Maybe Newt can get more conservatives to play. Or maybe convince them that there are more reasons to do it than just for politics.

But the BoGlobe has this quote from Kerry, which no doubt was expected.
For his part, Kerry said he was cautiously encouraged that more prominent Republicans are beginning to accept climate change as a serious issue.

"It's important to have a conservative leader saying, 'I accept the science and I accept the urgency and we need to do something,' " Kerry said after the debate.

Still, he questioned whether the newfound willingness by some conservatives to address global warming is sincere.

"Words can come fast and furious in Washington," he said.
Right, and I'm sure Kerry is willing to consider that Algore may be an extreme alarmist. Or maybe not.

Frankly, I wonder why Kerry ended up in this debate. It got him little politically, and just helped Newt look reasonable. Well, at least on this subject. Can we expect any legislation from Kerry on this? I doubt it, why would he start writing law now.

Tickets, OK for You, but not for Me

This has been swirling around the local politics in NH. I've taken a couple of legislators off my vote for list due to their moronic opinions.
State legislators don’t make minimum wage.

The $200 biennial stipend amounts to pennies per hour for representatives and senators toiling in the New Hampshire General Court.

They get a few perks, however, and getting a break on minor motor vehicle violations has traditionally been among them, said Rep. Gregory Sorg of Franconia, a lawyer who is handling Nashua Rep. Bea Francoeur’s challenge of a speeding ticket in Nashua District Court.
Nope that's not it. Getting out of a speeding ticket because it's a perk isn't even on the argument list for this one. Though if it were, I'd say, don't run for office if money is your concern.
Francoeur was cited after a Nashua police officer clocked her traveling 44 mph on East Dunstable Road on her way to Gov. John Lynch’s inauguration Jan. 4. The speed limit on that portion of the road is 30 mph.

Francoeur challenged the ticket, however, arguing that the state constitution forbids police from arresting legislators on their way to or from Concord on official business. A hearing on the case is scheduled April 12 in Nashua District Court.

Sorg argues the ticket should be tossed. He cites Part Two, Article 21 of the New Hampshire Constitution, “Privileges of Members of Legislature,” which states that legislators can’t be arrested or held for court appearances on their way to or from a session of the legislature.

Police contend that stopping someone to issue a traffic ticket does not amount to an arrest and that legislators aren’t immune from prosecution for such offenses.
So as a legislator, they are of the opinion that they can't be stopped for a ticket if they are on the way to a session. Though how a police officer is to know what and where they are speeding to is beyond me. Not that there was an arrest. And that if she was going to such an important vote, you'd think she would have planned out the trip to ensure timeliness. But wait, she wasn't going to a vote, she was going to the inauguration of the guy she supposedly is declaring protection from on due to the ticket. WTF?

The mass of the legislators arguing that she shouldn't get a ticket, or even be stopped are not even bothering to stop and think. Not only is this empirical proof that they believe they are a privileged few, but they think that the average citizen will agree with this crap. The article is in place to make it illegal for the Governor to interfere with the legislature, not to stop the prosecution of illegal activities by the legislature. If this were a case of the Governor tampering with the legislative process, then it would be grounds for impeachment, but it's not. It's just a regular cop doing his job, and a fool who can't separate what is a good fight from a sure loser.
“To Rep. Francoeur, this to her is a matter of principle. She’s not trying to make herself better than anyone else,” Sorg said, adding later, “When she gets behind a principle, she won’t budge. She’s a feisty lady.”
Well, she may be feisty, but I'm hoping she learns that the citizens are cantankerous. I think anyone supporting this stand should look for another hobby. Frankly, this is insulting to anyone who obeys the law irrespective of their need to get somewhere fast.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Police Preparing for Gardening Season

Saw this at SayUncle and I just wonder when my parents are going to get raided.
On a regular Saturday evening, three roommates stood around their apartment going about their normal routine when suddenly eight to 10 police officers, guns drawn, came into the apartment and served the unsuspecting men a search warrant.

Robert Barry, a senior civil engineering major, stood in shock as police searched his apartment for a suspected marijuana growth.

Just three hours earlier, two people, who Barry said were there on behalf of the landlord, were reviewing the apartment when they noticed a growth lamp in a hall closet.

Pullman Police met the two citizens when they went to the police station soon after leaving the apartment to report a suspected growth.

The two people also mentioned to the officer that the roommates appeared nervous while they were in the apartment, and said it smelled like burnt marijuana.

The search warrant states that “a crime has been committed or reasonably appears about to be committed, to-wit: controlled narcotic substances, in particular growing marijuana and burnt marijuana,” as well as paraphernalia. The apartment had drawings and pictures of marijuana leaves on the walls.

Much to their surprise, when the police came to the apartment with guns drawn, they found tomato plants growing in Barry’s closet.

You see, my mother grows her tomatoes, and lots of other plants from seed. It's cheaper, faster, and she has more control. But seeing as the police seem to be taking tipsters, who are fucking clueless, as reliable sources, I can imagine that my mom will be dealing with these imbeciles at some point.

Then the police, embarrassed by their actions continued their stupidity.
“They went straight to the closet and saw tomatoes,” Barry said. “They regrouped for a second and then searched the rest of the apartment visually.” Barry said the officers found nothing and even threatened to bring dogs back to search the apartment further.
There you go. Couldn't find what you were looking for, go get the dogs and really tear the place up. Wonderful statement for the reasonableness of the police at that locality.

Dems Avoiding Another FoxNews Sponsored Debate

Get this:

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will not participate in a Democratic debate co-hosted by Fox News Channel this fall, campaign aides indicated Monday.

The decision by the two Democratic presidential candidates follows an announcement last week by John Edwards, another White House contender, that he would forgo the Fox event.

The Sept. 23 debate, set for Detroit, is co-sponsored by the cable news network and by the Congressional Black Caucus Political Education and Leadership Institute.

Without Obama, Clinton and Edwards, however, Fox and the CBC institute would be missing three of the marquee contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Obama and Clinton aides said they intended to participate in six debates sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee. The DNC's list did not include the Fox News-CBC Institute debate, a concession to liberal and black activists who say Fox has slighted blacks and is biased in favor of conservatives.

Nice to see that the DNC legitimizes the Left Slant of the rest of the MSM. They don't approve of Fox because they obviously don't meet the correct slant in their views to be able to sponsor a debate. Imagine if the Republicans did the same thing with CNN or PBS sponsored debates.

New WWI Memorial

Wouldn't expect new memorials for WWI to be showing up at this date.
VIMY RIDGE, France -- On a day as soft and bright as the Easter Monday of 1917 was dark and cold, above a plain greener than the Canadians who slogged through the mud of Vimy could ever imagine, the Queen rededicated the gleaming monument that has become a symbol of Canadian sacrifice.

The event marking the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge yesterday was full of pomp and ceremony, yet it was also a day of widely conflicting emotion: From the boisterous cheers of patriotic teenagers to the sombre shadow cast by six deaths in Afghanistan the day before.

Of course, the Press had to add in the deaths in Afghanistan. Can't have a news article about anything without pulling GWOT into it.