July 30, 2007
Breaking News - Judge Roberts hospitalized
Heard earlier on local radio, now from FoxNews
WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts took a spill and ended up being taken to the hospital, FOX News confirmed Monday.
Sources at the Supreme Court said Roberts fell while at his summer home in Maine, and he was hospitalized merely as a precaution.
Winning the War in Iraq
Guess where the following was printed yesterday
VIEWED from Iraq, where we just spent eight days meeting with American and Iraqi military and civilian personnel, the political debate in Washington is surreal. The Bush administration has over four years lost essentially all credibility. Yet now the administration’s critics, in part as a result, seem unaware of the significant changes taking place."Rightwinger" media? "Faux" News? Spewings from the usual NeoConBusHitlerZionistChickenhawks?
Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq,
ummm.... no, the anti-war/anti-bush NYTimes
As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration’s miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily “victory” but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with.The two, self-admitted "harsh Bush critics" go on to list all the positive changes they encountered -- from the recovery of local economies to former al Qaeda allies now turning to American and Iraqi forces to secure a peaceful, fulfilling future.
After the furnace-like heat, the first thing you notice when you land in Baghdad is the morale of our troops. In previous trips to Iraq we often found American troops angry and frustrated — many sensed they had the wrong strategy, were using the wrong tactics and were risking their lives in pursuit of an approach that could not work.
Today, morale is high. The soldiers and marines told us they feel that they now have a superb commander in Gen. David Petraeus; they are confident in his strategy, they see real results, and they feel now they have the numbers needed to make a real difference.
How much of this will influence the Democrats in their rush to surrender Iraq to the jihadists is difficult to predict. Harry Reid, Kerry and others have already made it clear they are not only not going to believe anything that Gen. Petraeus has to say, but they are willing to sacrifice the Iraqi population to a bloodbath (and then will, as Kerry has done vis a vis Vietnam, deny it ever happened) then allow even a hint good news accrue to those who have supported the American mission in Iraq.American advisers told us that many of the corrupt and sectarian Iraqi commanders who once infested the force have been removed. The American high command assesses that more than three-quarters of the Iraqi Army battalion commanders in Baghdad are now reliable partners (at least for as long as American forces remain in Iraq).So, what say you ... you who want American troops home right now, regardless of consequence. Does this article make any difference to you? Would any good news from Iraq change your mind?
In addition, far more Iraqi units are well integrated in terms of ethnicity and religion. The Iraqi Army’s highly effective Third Infantry Division started out as overwhelmingly Kurdish in 2005. Today, it is 45 percent Shiite, 28 percent Kurdish, and 27 percent Sunni Arab.
In the past, few Iraqi units could do more than provide a few “jundis” (soldiers) to put a thin Iraqi face on largely American operations. Today, in only a few sectors did we find American commanders complaining that their Iraqi formations were useless — something that was the rule, not the exception, on a previous trip to Iraq in late 2005.
The additional American military formations brought in as part of the surge, General Petraeus’s determination to hold areas until they are truly secure before redeploying units, and the increasing competence of the Iraqis has had another critical effect: no more whack-a-mole, with insurgents popping back up after the Americans leave....there is enough good happening on the battlefields of Iraq today that Congress should plan on sustaining the effort at least into 2008.Is your reaction to Iraq emotional or intellectual? These "harsh critics" appear to be coming from the latter, you?
July 28, 2007
A Dangerous Age
As fun as The Breakfast Club was, a day-in-the-life of five stereotypical teens of the 80's, could it be made today?
Maybe, but without "the jock", Andy Clark [Emilio Estevez]. Rather than spending a Saturday in detention writing an essay as punishment for taping the buns of some poor kid in the locker room, he'd be looking at ten years in jail and lifetime registry as a sexual predator.The two boys tore down the hall of Patton Middle School after lunch, swatting the bottoms of girls as they ran -- what some kids later said was a common form of greeting.Reasonable people don't excuse obnoxious behavior. Reasonable people would expect the school not only to discipline Cory and Ryan, maybe a few after-school hours, or Saturdays, scrubbing graffiti off the walls, or scrubbing down the restrooms, but to exercise the judgment of alleged educational professionals who work with children on a daily basis. And such judgment would not be to involve the police.
But bottom-slapping is against policy in McMinnville Public Schools. So a teacher's aide sent the gawky seventh-graders to the office, where the vice principal and a police officer stationed at the school soon interrogated them.
After hours of interviews with students the day of the February incident, the officer read the boys their Miranda rights and hauled them off in handcuffs to juvenile jail, where they spent the next five days.
Now, Cory Mashburn and Ryan Cornelison, both 13, face the prospect of 10 years in juvenile detention and a lifetime on the sex offender registry in a case that poses a fundamental question: When is horseplay a crime?
But hey, public school admins are filled with people who substitute written rules for judgment, law for morality. And why should we be surprised that they would want to palm off two immature 13 year olds to the criminal system when some of the purported "adults" involved act as unreasonable as the prosecutor?To Rhonda Pope, mother of Christian Richter, 13, a girl named in the court papers as one of the victims, the charges are justified. "Slapping somebody on the butt is sexual harassment, and it is a crime," she said. "Considering what was going on and that my daughter was offended, it is a crime. And it's not OK." ...I would say either we are dealing with hysterical adults with no sense of proportion or ones cynically jumping at a chance at lawsuit lottery.
Parents of two other alleged victims have told the school district they plan to sue because they face "significant expenses" for counseling to deal with the "sexual harassment and abuse."
Show of hands, please -- How many of you remember middle school as a damned period of growing up? I know I wouldn't go back and relive it for any amount of money. At my 12th birthday I was already 5' 7" and had ... ahem ... "blossomed" rather spectacularly in the chestoidal region. I swear I went through 7th grade where the majority of male classmates I interacted with never knew the color of my eyes.
Early adolescence is uncomfortable for just about everyone. We are walking sacks of hormones, newly changing bodies and immaturity right down to very fiber of our brains. However, for the majority of us ... scared, offended, uncomfortable, gawky ... we survive it. We learn, grow, hopefully guided by wise adults and gain some wisdom ourselves.
But what lessons are Cory and Ryan learning by being charged in the criminal justice system as sexual predators, on the same moral plane as rapists and child molesters?
It is also interesting to consider the reaction of radical Vagina Warriors to this story. When Karl of Leaning Straight Up first posted on the absurdity of this Zero Tolerance Insanity, he attracted the attention of one of the Shakespeare's sister crowd.What the boys did was sexual assault, under the most basic definition. I doubt they thought of it that way before they did it, but that's what it was. ...The abject stupidity of this writer is jaw-dropping. Only in the most fevered-imaginings of rape is however I define it of radical feminists is adolescent prankish, albeit obnoxious, behavior criminal and akin to rape.
In short, while boys may be boys, that's no excuse for boys to be stupid. You're taught to keep your hands to yourself in kindergarten. These guys knew enough not to do this. They deserve to get punished.
More than that, this case has the feel of a rape case writ small, from the contention that the girls knew of the behavior and liked it, to the idea that the boys just couldn't help themselves, to the thought that this is somehow criminalizing normal behavior.
But hey, even Jeffy's spearcarrying for VW's sounds reasonable when compared to one of his co-bloggers, Kathy, who not only picks up Jeff Feckes "prank = little rape" meme, but expands on it by comparing to a brutal gang-rape because...well...because Cory and Ryan are White BoysCory Mashburn and Ryan Cornelison have automatic and unquestionable "bright futures," by virtue of their whiteness and socioeconomic status, the protection of which trumps their female classmates' right not to have their body parts touched, fondled, and slapped.Not only is it reminiscent of the Duke hoax and such fabled VW's as the [to this day] unapologetic St. Amanda who declared the Duke players guilty by virtue of penises of pallor, but it also ignores that the "bright future" phrase was just recently used concerning Genarlow Wilson, a young man with a more melanin-enriched penis, doing ten years for a consensual sex act.
The saga of Cory and Ryan is not as isolated as we may think (or hope for). In a youth-oriented culture increasingly whipsawed between appeals to hedonistic behavior with sexual relations accorded all the value of a fast food hamburger and a political expansion of what constitutes "rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment" to mean anything as perceived by the aggrieved victim, we get willing suspension of judgment from the very people we trust to be exercising it and find even an 8 year old boy can be charged as a sexual predator.
Unfortunately, I don't see this improving. At one time, personal behavior was shaped, influenced and constrained by family and religion, two institutions under constant secular assault. Ironic, isn't it, that with the decline of the denigrated heteronormative family and Judeo-Christianity we've seen a breathtaking increase in law whose only purpose is to micromanage human behavior that can be honesty described as only obnoxious.
Into this schizoid social blender we drop adolscents, alternatingly telling them they are free individuals who don't have to listen to their parents about sex (those old, hung-up, repressed fuddy duddys out to spoil the fun! just use the condom, ok?) but also punishing them via the criminal justice system if they make even a singular bad judgment in offending someone else.
I gotta agree with Karl, stuff like what is happening to Cory and Ryan is just another good reason for parents to opt out of gubmint schools whenever possible. Vouchers, private, homeschool ... just get far away from schools that see no problem with felony charges against youths who Behave Badly.
July 27, 2007
Scott Thomas of The New Republic?
Janet Cooke of The Washington Post.
July 25, 2007
So Disney bans smoking from all its movies
and why?Geez, doesn't that just make one wonder what other things that children are exposed to influences behavior to engage in that "thing?"
Walt Disney Co. on Wednesday became the first major Hollywood studio to ban depictions of smoking, saying there would be no smoking in its family-oriented, Disney-branded films and it would "discourage" it in films distributed by its Touchstone and Miramax labels.
Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger also said in a letter to U.S. Rep. Edward Markey, whose committee last month held hearings on the effects of movie images on children, that the studio would place anti-smoking public service announcements on DVDs of any future films that feature cigarette smoking. ...
Research cited by American Legacy, a nonprofit created out of landmark litigation between the tobacco industry and states attorneys general, shows that 90 percent of all films depict smoking and children with the highest exposure to smoking in movies were nearly three times more likely to start smoking.
July 23, 2007
Sheehan flogs son's corpse
The indecent Mommy Sheehan got herself arrested while annoying John Conyer to announce her run for SanFranNan's seat.
Guess using Casey's corpse to generate free publicity is all Mommy has.
I wonder, will the publicity surrounding her theatrics be covered by the anti-First Amendment McCain-Feingold amendment?
July 18, 2007
The Democrats demand for American Surrender has been thwarted.
July 17, 2007
Harry Reid's rush to surrender
July 14, 2007
End Poverty! Send me money!
Camp Edwards hardly took a break from the last quarter's fundraising to again filling my email box with more amusingly written entreaties to help Silky PonyJohn Edwards is launching the Road to One America Tour next week to shine a light on the 37 million Americans who live in poverty. If we don’t stand up for them, who will? George Bush and his corporate buddies won’t. The lobbyists in Washington won’t. And since the media can’t stop talking about Paris Hilton, you can bet they won’t help shine a light on it.Seriously, stop laughing for a moment and consider.
Will you help end poverty by giving $8? ...
Help our campaign to end poverty in America by signing our petition, giving just $8...
There is no such thing as a "cure" or a way to "end" Poverty(tm)
"Poverty" is relative. As long as more than a few humans are gathered in one place, their disparate talents and skills will be evident and how they live will also be "unequal". There will always be "rich" and "poor" at either end. And what we consider as the marks of "rich" and "poor" will differ according to culture.
Joe Trippi writes of "people who struggle working two jobs." Yes, working two jobs is a struggle. But in most parts of the world, the poor don't even have one job.
The vast majority of American poor have a roof over their head, food in the fridge, electricity, clothing and running water. Their children get an education financed by their neighbors and receive breakfast and lunch on the taxpayers dime. Many will have their own cars and qualify for their state's taxpayer financed health care. Cell phones and television are also evident in the community of "American Poor". The programs to help the poor in America are legion, from both governmental and private quarters.
And the billions upon billions of dollars spent have not "cured" Poverty.
It has ameliorated much of the day-to-day living problems to a point where American Poor would be the envy of even lower class workers in many foreign countries.
Good faith arguments can center over what constitutes the best policy approaches to helping people move out of chronic poverty and at what cost. However, the Edwards' campaign of Pimping the Poor for $8 is neither realistic nor offered in good faith.
Just another demonstration of the unseriousness of the putative Democrat candidate.
July 12, 2007
Why should sex ...
... be considered any differently than any other behavior that humans engage in?
Is behavior "X" useful or harmful? Is it applicable to everyone, or should it be restricted to categories of individuals? What behaviors of the province of law, and what should be left to culture, society or family?
What is it about sex that discussion of behaviors concerning it have some people screaming Hypocrit! Phoney! at someone talking about ideals where they'd never act that way with someone, say, advocating sobriety or eating healthy?
July 09, 2007
Moonbeam Brown's revenge
As goes California, so goes the nation
Kelo? Schmelo. What's an eminent domain threat, beaten back in some states, when all land usage can be usurped using the great cudgel of Global Warming™?
Back in the 1970's, then Governor Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown's vision for California, especially for the riff-raff below the Grapevine, was Don't build it and they won't come. State tax revenues for highway construction and maintenance dried up like the Santa Ana River during a five-year drought. The major testament to Moonbeam's legacy for me was traveling through Orange County down the 55 freeway to Newport, then diverting onto surface streets that ran alongside a fenced, weedy pit in the ground where the freeway was supposed to be. It wouldn't be until the 1990's that the last bit of the 55 was completed.
Moonbeam has never given up on getting people to get rid of their cars.
Indeed, Moonbeam has never given up on getting rid of people.
And his weapon of choice is AB 32, California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which mandates state entities to reduce their greenhouse gases (GHGs) to 1990 levels. AB 32 also declares carbon dioxide as a "greenhouse gas" that must be monitored and regulated. As CA's Attorney General, Moonbeam has leveled this shotgun straight at the gut of fast growth counties, most recently taking the unprecedented step of suing the county of San Bernardino.San Bernardino, California - This vast county east of Los Angeles, the biggest in the continental USA, could hold the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Vermont and Rhode Island and still have room left over. Most of San Bernardino County remains mountains and empty desert.Even Dan Waters of the SacBee, sounds some warning notes:
But an ever-larger piece, the part known as the "Inland Empire," is freeways, fast-growing cities, traffic congestion and seemingly endless sprawl. For years, this has been the refuge, with Riverside County to the south, for hundreds of thousands of home buyers fleeing soaring Los Angeles prices.
STATES TAKE NOTE: California blames sprawl for global warming.
The county's 2 million population will grow by at least 500,000 by 2030, according to state estimates. The conventional way growth has always been handled here is to build more single-family subdivisions — the suburban dream, for sale on a third of an acre.[my note - I don't know where he got this info...the majority of subdivisions for ostensible middleclass homes is 1/6 acre]
"San Bernardino has never seen a project it didn't like," says Brendan Cummings, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group that has brought several lawsuits in the Inland Empire over global warming. "They rubber-stamp development. It's very much of a frontier mentality."When Attorney General Jerry Brown sued San Bernardino County over alleged inadequacies in its plan governing growth, he accelerated an incremental and potentially historic -- albeit little-noticed -- state takeover of local governments' jealously guarded power over land use.Waters softpeddles the Coastal Commission's "tinges of corruption". The Commission's historic operation can be found as an example in Bartlet's Familiar Quotations next to Lord Acton's Absolute power corrupts absolutely. The idea of a statewide "Coastal Commission", fully subservient to the socialist CA State Legislature is an alarming prospect. Not the least of which when viewed in the context of Moonbeam's authoritarian sneers directed at San Diego
Land use has, as a topic for debate and sometimes action, been kicked around political and academic circles for decades. A landmark shift of policy occurred in the mid-1970s when voters and the Legislature, plus then-Gov. Brown, created a Coastal Commission with land use power -- sometimes applied very narrowly with tinges of corruption -- over a "coastal zone."
The multifront conflict over land use authority is ... an ideological one, and that means it's also an interregional conflict in which coastal and urban liberals are attempting to impose their philosophy of development on the faster-growing, conservative suburban and rural counties of inland California -- San Bernardino, for instance.First it was the booming counties of California's Inland Empire. Now Attorney General Jerry Brown is eyeing stagnant San Diego's recent growth plan as part of his home-state mission on greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. ...From Mike Lee
Brown's office fired San Diego a GHG warning shot last month with a June 11 letter from Deputy Attorney General Sandra Goldberg urging the city to adopt a broader range of GHG mitigation strategies. But some locals say such excessive regulation could force businesses out, reports Voice of San Diego's Rob Davis. ...
Earlier this year Brown signaled his intent to use the Act as a lever to force changes in local development blueprints. ...
Brown had previously smacked the Inland Empire's other big growth county, Riverside, with similar suits against the plans of municipalities Banning and Desert Hot Springs.After a sharp reprimand from the State Attorney General's Office, San Diego city officials are crafting policies to deal with global warming more decisively.And if Moonbeam's demands are not met, he has backup from the CA Senate in the form of yet another bit of legislation, SB 375, that is naked in it's power play
Their proposed regulations mainly deal with new developments and major remodeling projects. They address everything from the types of paints and roofing materials that can be used to the varieties of landscape plants and the amount of parking spots allowed. The rules also are aimed at reducing traffic.
At first, the city wanted merely to encourage such measures in its long-term growth strategy. But in a recent letter, Attorney General Jerry Brown's staff made it clear that voluntary guidelines aren't good enough.This measure says that all transportation plans and transportation funding decisions must be made with the object of concentrating people in dense urban cores. In this bill, it is called a “Preferred Growth Scenario.” It says all transportation plans and funds must serve this “Preferred Growth Scenario,” and that, in turn, means at an absolute minimum packing in ten families per acre. Ten Families.Crumbling roads? Unsafe bridges? State to city, tough sh*t, you play by our rules and you'll get some of your taxes back, or you can just crumble into the dust and good riddance.
Welcome to the brave new world of central planning. This is a continuation of the policy that Gov. Schwarzenegger institutionalized with AB 32 and that Attorney General Brown operationalized by suing San Bernardino County.
They’re basically saying, “You cannot build new highways until you can show how you’re going to build them without using earth-moving equipment or concrete and that, once they’re built, nobody is going to use them.”
But the Left has an alternative – that’s what this bill is all about. They want everyone to move into dense urban cores – the denser the better. That’s what this bill means when it uses the term, “Preferred Growth Scenario.”
Global Warming™ has provided the perfect cover for the Radical Environmental movement. It is a fundamentalist religion that is bent on imposing its own Enviromental Sharia, where even a small town 85 miles east of Los Angeles is being sued by the Moonbeam's office and it's fundie co-religionists in the Radical Eco movement for the unforgivable sin of allowing people to live one family per acre.
Think of your state as a Super HOA, telling you not only how to paint your home or what plants you can have in your yard, but even telling you whether or not you're are even allowed a yard or a fireplace.
As goes California ...
July 08, 2007
Yes, I did it ...
... just got back from Live Free and Die Hard.
It was great fun and a perfect adrenaline rush, brain candy way to spend a hot Sunday afternoon. While this is the fourth Die Hard, it's the only sequel of the series that actually is almost as fun as the first one. Plotting is fast-paced, the bad guys (and gal) are slick, professional and one spends the first part of the movie trying to figure out just what are they after?
Willis' reprise as McClane is pitch perfect as the 'get the job done' reluctant hero, older, lots of milege, both wisecracking and grumbling outloud at the injustice of getting caught in the middle of things he'd rather not have the [mis]fortune to experience. Willis' comfort in his own skin is evident in that McClane shows his age... wrinkles, balding head shaved, and slow to recover from the abuse and outrages he receives while shepherding computer geek, Matt Farrell (played by Justin Long, Apple's "Mac" from tv ad-dom)to the DHS. Farrell is alternately arrogant, whiney and scared sh*tless after realizing he's been had as a contracted low-level hacker, now on the shortlist for assassination.
Bare bones is that someone[s] have hacked into much of America's major business, government, transportation, financial and telecommunications computer infrastructure and is systematically bringing it down. One of the early scenes deals with the bad guys first implementation ... turning all the traffic signals in Washington DC to "green" causing all manner of immediate intersection crashes and gridlocking the city.
The movie does get a little long, but one gets their money's worth with good, old-fashioned stunts and pyrotechnics. Hardly one bit of cgi to be seen.
No spoiler alerts here ... grab a friend and go see it for yourself. The only thing to disappoint is what you're going to be charged for that large tub of popcorn and a couple of softdrinks.
July 04, 2007
Happy Birthday to the greatest nation on Earth
The great American experiment continues and I'll make this brief.
There is no place on Earth I'd rather live, no other system of government that, for all its flaws, I'd rather participate in.
For some, American patriotism is evil, without any glimmer of recognition of the irony of their own success in the society they wish to see destroyed. Most Americans, happily and rationally, reject such hate and rather subscribe to the moral truism "Patriotism is the most practical of all human characteristics."
Others are studiously ignorant of the moral basis of the American experiment. They continue to aggitate from a classically Marxist position ... that everything is determined by economics and all other values are subservient to economic "equality" ... even liberty.
It's the "I have a right to a pony" fantasy. Fantasy because the unspoken part of the sentence is "even if I have to enslave the guy down the street to secure that right". It hasn't worked in the past but hey, let's keep trying because I certainly don't want to have to really earn that pony.And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe—the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God. ~~John F. KennedyJFK certainly wasn't talking about ponies!
For more positive writings on the 4th and what we truly honor today, take a moment to check out the various writings from The Cotillion, Captain Ed, Jay Tea at Wizband, Jeff Harrell, and Eric at Classical Values.
I'll post more links as I come across them.
In closing, before I head off to be with my family for a day that celebrates both the micro and the macro of American culture and values, let me do a little shameless quoting from what I wrote last year.
We are not aware of all the details of the lives of the 56 signers of Declaration of Independence. Some may have been prone to tippling, or bursts of anger. Some may have cheated a neighbor or broken their vows to their spouse. Some may have been prone to violence, brawling in a public house or raising their hand to their children. But in that one moment, that one fleeting instance when they risked all they did have for an ideal, they put their moral bank account in the black. They exceeded the vagaries of themselves and their neighbors and passed on to us, their ideological descendents, a priceless gift.
May we all strive to be worthy of them.
Happy 4th of July and our good wishes and prayers for the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces.