According to reports on talk radio, Wisconsin State Senator Lena Taylor wants to introduce legislation which would block ever charging a juvenile miscreant as an adult regardless the crime. She is probably expecting some support from folks who feel sorry for the Lake Geneva high school girl who made the simple teenage mistake of driving drunk and killed a man, but the fact that she is putting this forward just after a 15 year old gang member opened fire on police officers makes it evident what constituency she is serving.
The conventional wisdom of the gun bloggers is that the police are minutes away. It is because you cannot expect them to show up in time to do anything more for you than draw a chalk outline that you need to be prepared to defend yourself, and need the right to keep and bear the means to do so.
Sadly, in the most important recent police call in Wisconsin (Tam has an excellent discussion of the incident) they were hours away. The shooter, briefly the state's Most Wanted, showed up at the home of some of his friends at 7:30AM, and told them what he did. These people started calling 911, and continued to do so for hours, including reports that he had surrendered his rifle and gone out to his truck to take a nap, before the authorities finally showed up at 11:30 and killed him on a reported exchange of gunfire.
In an incident which has become all too common ever since rock salt in a shotgun has fallen from favor, high school students in Mukwonago Wisconsin defaced residential property by tossing rolls of toilet paper into trees and discarding furniture on lawns. This wouldn't even have been considered newsworthy except that a homeowner who had the audacity to object was injured, and an adult was found to be involved.
Talk radio host Jeff Wagner was discussing the incident, focusing on the role of the 34 year old man out committing criminal mischief with underage girls after their curfew. I was truly appalled that the mother of one of these girls called in, not the least bit chalant about her daughter's involvement and upset that the property owner would actually object to being vandalized.
It is my opinion that this mother and any other parents found to have foreknowledge of these acts should be required to carry out the clean up, in lieu of charges of child neglect. The high school students should each be required to prepare a research paper on the environmental impact of paper manufacture and a review of Eric Flint's 1634 alternate history series which shows that they read it attentively enough to understand the relevance. As for the adult driver, he needs to be investigated very carefully to determine the basis of his involvement with these young women.
My friend M. Simon has reposted an essay comparing the police state of the current War On Some Drugs with the police state of Nazi Germany, written by someone who had witnessed both. I had been more inclined to think in terms of the Stalinist police state. When I was growing up, back in the time of the Red Scare, one of the things we were told in grade school was evil about the Soviet Union was that people were encouraged to inform upon one another; even family members. Today, grade school students are being encouraged to inform upon family members. I remember reading of one specific case of a young man whose mother was self-medicating her depression with methamphetamine, once the standard prescription for her condition. He turned her in believing he would get her help but instead she was imprisoned for drug possession. Hopefully that young man will never again trust his government.
My wee wifey was watching the first movie in the series, with Vindy as the anti-hero. I wandered in and out such that I couldn't follow the story (which was just a framework to hang car action, shooting and emotional moments onto anyway) but one thing struck me as significant, especially if it reflects the real world more than motorcycle drive-bys without a passenger as shooter do.
It was evident to me that the police were more upset at the possibility that the truckers might fight back against hijacking than they were about the hijackings themselves.
Altho I consider myself to be a conservative of libertarian temperment, I find it necessary to confess that I accept the fact that there is an industry in this country which should be receiving closer oversight from Federal agencies such as OSHA and the EPA. That industry is the hazardous and environmentally destructive manufacture of methamphetamine.
We went on a road trip yesterday with a primary destination of Madistan. In hopes of provoking some Reasoned Discourse with residents of that hotbed of "progressivism" I wore a gun rights t-shirt from the Second Amendment Sisters. I didn't get any response from the residents of that determinedly fair city. What I got was even better.
As we worked our way back home along the secondary hiways, we stopped in a church thrift store in one of the towns we passed thru. A white haired gentleman sitting reading near the magazine rack asked to confirm that "No Gun Control Victims" meant I was in fact opposed to gun control. When I told him I was, he stood up and shook my hand. He then told me of his experience with gun control and its victims.
"Mister Nick" had managed construction projects around the world, but Nigeria was different from any place else he had worked. Absolute gun control - for the law abiding. The criminals ran rampant. Occasionally a handgun for protection would be offered to one of his workmen, but if in fact he bought it, that night the seller's brother the policeman would arrive to enforce the gun ban, confiscating the weapon (and no doubt returning it so the process would repeat), and collecting a $100 "fine" in lieu of prosecution. He told me of a native watchman (they couldn't have actual guards) who was found with his brains splattered across the gate, and of two of his workers on the floor with rifles held to their heads while the bandits discussed whether it was worth expending the bullets to kill them. He thinks it would be a good idea if we could send all the gun control advocates over there so they can live with the consequences, and we won't need to.
Fred Thompson has made an announcement. He has not announced that he is running for President. He has only announced that he will announce that he is running for President, which is not at all the same thing.
The fact that this distinction exists and is necessary is an indication of how much "reform" has frobnicated our electoral process.
Among the more annoying ploys of the victim disarmament movement is the assertion that the 2nd Amendment uniquely refers only to the technology of the time in which it was written. There are some interesting worms in that particular can, including "cruel and unusual punishment". The dunking stool had gone out of fashion by the time the Constitution was written, but this case cries out for it.
On a related note, it would be interesting to determine whether this 16 year old drunk driver was a fan of Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan.
In a rare surrender of gubernatorial power, Diamond Jim Doyle today proposed allowing local communities to pass their own firearms ordinance. How about if we take him up on this and start a campaign for County Concealed Carry Permits?
It seems that there are people in California who don't understand the English language well enough to understand what they are getting into when they sign telecommunications contracts. It is alleged that people are being defrauded by cell phone vendors, but if so the proper response is to track down and prosecute that fraud. The same aggressive investigation should also be applied to the possibility that people are deliberately running up large phone bills and then claiming supposed non-comprehension to avoid payment. My wee wifey's immigrant grandmother hid behind feigned non-comprehension for decades. As for the people who innocently chose the wrong plan, that is just the consequence of their failure to adapt and they need to pay the cost of that failure.
English is the language of law in the United States, but since I am not a lawyer I certain whether contracts in the 200 languages spoken in California can be legally binding. If they are, then the new regulation proposed by the California Public Utilities Commission is going to open up a can of worms which will make doing any kind of business in the state even less attractive. Legal documents cannot be translated by the same people who translate the manuals for DVD players.
If Oleg Volk were Yakov Smirnoff, he would be telling us "In Russia the iodine can't buy you." Having lived without freedom, Oleg sees nothing funny about the absence of it or the incremental loss of it.
The really scary aspect of the crackdown on iodine is that it is legislation without representation. The public had no input; our soi-desant representatives had no input beyond having created the agency and authorized the war in which this reduction of freedom is an action. This isn't part of the War on Terror, an offshoot of the dreaded Patriot Act. The same reactivity which makes iodine a component of crude explosives also makes it useful to certain chemists who are already smuggling another chemical into the country so as to make the new inconvenience in buying cold medicine meaningless. You may think all illegal drugs are invariably destructive as the one these chemists are making. You may not be troubled by the creeping loss of accesses once taken for granted. You may even believe that the War on Drugs is a good thing. Just you wait until they decide to label medicinal shrooms an epidemic, and you have to start justifying your purchase of brown rice flour.
The state legislature of Wisconsin has twice passed a Personal Protection Act which provided licensed recognition of the right of Wisconsinites to bear arms. Both times the governor vetoed it, and both times the veto was sustained because of the clout which campaign money from the teacher's union and the gambling interests gives the governor. As long as Doyle remains in office concealed carry will not get thru the legislature. The Wisconsin constitution provides another means by which laws can be enacted, popular referendum. I am therefore hereby calling for a referendum to make the Person Protection Act, as passed by the legislature, active law in Wisconsin.
My wee wifey and I hold the belief that it is incumbant upon the person who has an idea to carry it out. Unfortunately, I have neither the political savvy nor the right sort of visibility to run this campaign. Since I cannot put the bell onto the cat, I will provide the string with which to hang it. I have created a Wiscon Personal Protection blog, and will provide access to it for whoever steps forward to run this campaign.
It has been brought to my attention by two people with the political savvy I said was needed that the statewide referendum in Wisconsin is far mor limited than I understood it to be. I'm open to suggestions as to what can be done with the blogspace and the support it has engendered.
Those who would like to make the victim disarmament laws in the United States as severe as those in Great Britain prefer to minimize reports of criminal attacks over there. It seems the British government prefers to do the same. The British Crime Survey caps the number of times a victim can be targeted by an offender at five incidents counted per year. There are so far thankfully few places in the U.S. where an offender could survive targetting the same victim more than five times.
Today is the celebration of the end of slavery in the United States, or, more precisely, of the news reaching Texas that slavery in the states of the Confederacy was outlawed by Federal decree. There is a larger message of relevance today, which is that, contrary to the bumper stickers, there are problems which have been solved by war.
Armed citizens make great news stories, but boring movies. "This one armed man tried to murder my wife, and it looks like he planned to frame me for it. Good thing she had her gun on her."
Similarly, home invaders don't face cute little tricks when the 11 year old girl they are facing is a champion shotgunner.
Per my commenter, it appears that the news report I linked is an urban legend. I stand by my preference for armed defence over entertainment.
"A fight can express things people might not be able to say with words."From the actor, Brandon Lee, a very expressive fighter.
Having failed to produce evidence that the processing of routine filings from the West Bend Bank by Annette Zeigler's office, rather than adding them to the workload of other judges, resulted in any injustice, the forces opposing her are now running radio ads alleging that the personal phone calls she made on her office phone were to fancy upscale businesses. I take it that we are to presume that when Linda Clifford made personal calls on her office phone she, like us voters, called businesses of a more lumpen nature.
Just to make things clear, since I'm not going to the effort of posting the graphic, this is an overt act of blogging for Zeigler. I, too, am Spartacus.
This past January 29th of Twenty-O-Six we celebrated the birth of an idea put forward 120 years ago, that man should not be limited in his ability to travel by the constraints of steel rails or the short-comings of horse-drawn carriages. To be truly free, one must not be encumbered by schedules and routes, or the stamina of horses. Thus a young German engineer named Carl Benz took to task the idea of motorizing personal transportation in the mid 1880s.From the book Daimler & Benz: The Complete History by Dennis Adler, published, it would appear, sometime last year.
There are those, as I have noted, who think they know better than we do when and where we should travel, and view this great liberation as something less than a general good.
Once upon a time, the Indianapolis 500 motor race was a hotbed of innovations. Some of the performance enhancements first tested there even made it out to the street. Those days are past.
This year's Indy Pro series cars are absolutely identical. What we have now is a spec race, a form of competition better suited to dentists having a midlife crisis than to the nation's top drivers. The only reason to pay any attention to The Greatest Spectacle In Racing™ will be to check after it is over to see if Danica Patrick has caught up with her hype.
Do those who lack the courage to themselves make an attempt on the life of the Vice President of the United States have the moral authority to express regret that he was not killed in the Kandahar bombing?
Anyone considering a journey for which they might be using Northwest Airlines would do well to contact their ticket agent and confirm that their counter staff are familiar with the interstate transport provision of the McClure-Volkmer act so that something like this doesn't happen to you.
Even if you aren't planning such a journey, you might want to call them about it just as a matter of principle. I'd suggest contacting the New York state tourism folks too, but I don't think they care.
The governor and legislature of Wisconsin are sufficiently concerned about the well-being of their constituents that they are putting their protection ahead of individual property rights and freedom of choice. Unfortunately, they are neglecting to extend this zeal to many who need it the most, the typically older and poorer people who frequent the gambling casinos. Due to the limitations on the number of casinos in this state, these people do not even have the option, available to tavern and restaurant patrons, of choosing a location where they are free from exposure to second hand smoke.
I therefore call upon the good caring people of this state to see to it that equal protection is extended to all who deserve it, by contacting their legislators, and if that is unsuccessfull, thru a constitutional referendum.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. You can be as pure as you like in the primaries,m but under the US electoral system, when the main election rolls around refusal to vote for the lesser evil amounts to voting for the greater evil.
Megan McCardle, AKA Jane Galt, AKA a staff writer for The Economist whose style and opinions we might recognize, has compared herself to a list of supposedly world-view linked behavior characteristics, and concluded that she must in fact be a liberal. I refuse to be manipulated that way. I've been voting Republican since Reagan, and I voted Libertarian before that. When I disagree with the Republican position now, it is more likely to be as a conservative than as a libertarian.
Liberals are messier than conservatives. Their rooms have more clutter, more color. Conservatives’ rooms are better organized, more brightly lit, and more conventional. Liberals have more books and their books are on a greater variety of topics.This is an obvious attempt to paint conservatives as narrow minded tight-asses. My computer room/hobby room/office is obviously the room by which to judge me. The walls and ceiling are mustard yellow, and it is lit right now by two computer monitors and the daylight flourescents over my model-building bench; even when I turn on the ceiling light it isn't spectacularly bright. The room is so cluttered with computers, stacks of books, and cartons of stuff I don't have enough shuffle space to straighten it out. As for number and range of books, I'll have to address that in the extended entry to keep from pushing every other post off the front page.
Fist of all, here is a listing of books which I currently have checked out of the library, cut and pasted from the Countycat online record. Note that in addition to the book by Clinton Hull, I have in the past checked out The Shortline Railroads of Arkansas, by Clifton Hull.
A second Mencken chrestomathy / H.L. Mencken ; selected, revised, and annotated by the author
The corporate blogging book : absolutely everything you need to know to get it right / Debbie Weil
Fiery appetizers : seventy spicy hot hors d'oeuvres : a Chile pepper magazine cookbook / by Dave DeW
In fury born / David Weber.
Folding hard top and tent top trailers; plans for 10' camping trailer which opens up to give 124 square feet of living area. Prepared by Clinton R. Hull.
The curry book : a celebration of memorable flavors and irresistible recipes / Nancie McDermott
Chevy TPI fuel injection swapper's guide / by John Baechtel.
A+ certification for dummies / by Ron Gilster.
The politics of industrial change : railway policy in North America / R. Kent Weaver.
The art & craft of making jewelry : a complete guide to essential techniques / Joanna Gollberg.
Spice : flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean / Ana Sortun with Nicole Chaison
More anguished English / Richard Lederer
Saints behaving badly : the cutthroats, crooks, trollops, con men, and devil-worshippers who became saints / Thomas J. Craughwell.
Now some of the books around my room, either near the top of a stack or on one of the several sets of bookshelves. These are not all books I have read recently; just evidence that I love books and have a wide range of interests.
The American Standard Of Perfection, by The American Poultry Association, 1940 edition - a must for visiting the State Fair
Mortal Error, by Bonar Menninger - A ballistics experts take on the Kennedy Assasination, weirder than any of the conspiracy theories I've encountered.
The Pawprints of History, Dogs And The Course of Human Events, by Stanley Coren
Assorted engineering texts, including the Steel Construction Manual, Formulas for Stress and Strain, and Design of Machine Menbers
Predecting Dangerousness by Stephen J Pfohl, which I thought would be an engineering text but turned out to be psychology. Still interesting.
The Joy of Lex, How to Have Fun With 860,341,500 Words by Gyles Brandreth. Some of these will wind up posted as word for the day.
Investing At The Racetrack, by William F Scott. We only just broke even during our one spell of handicapping, but it's alway fun to tempt oneself.
Various paperback fiction, including Most Secret, by Neville Shute, Digital Knight, by Ryk Spoor, Mona Lisa Overdrive, by William Gibson, and books from W.E.B.Griffen's Marine Corps series, and Larry Niven's Man-Kzin Wars
Various hardcover fiction, including Target Lock, by James Cobb, Have Space Suit, Will Travel, by Robert Heinlein, A Civil Campaign, by Lois Bujold, and Pride's Castle, by Frank Yerby.
Hysteria 1964, the Fear Campaign Against Barry Goldwater, by Lionel Lokos
The Velvet Prison, Artists Under State Socialism, by Miklós Haraszti
And this is just the tip of the icecube, speaking more to breadth than depth. In the second floor living room is a stack of milk crates, 4 deep, 5 wide and 5 tall. Half of these are magazines, mostly, but not entirely, car magazines, gun magazines, model railroad magazines and computer magazines. The other half are paperback books, including but not limited to, science fiction, thrillers, true crime, Regency romance, and popular history. Also in that room is a pile, not yet unpacked, of hardcover books, range hinted at above, about the size of a sofa. Downstairs, on bookshelves in three rooms, are some of my wee wifey's collection of cookbooks and craft books. Any liberals who have more books on a greater variety of topics is liable to be pressed for space.
Milwaukee bloggers, myself included, have been critical or mocking of local officials who have denied the existance of a problem with gang violence in our area. Maybe those officials have simply judging our situation by the standards of a different locale.
I drove the wee wifey to WalMart this afternoon, and wandered the aisles whilst she collected her knitting needles and canned goods. I was shocked and disappointed by a package I noticed in the aisle near their electronics department, a WalMart exclusive bundling a compact flourescent light bulb with a DVD of Al Gore's inconvenient propaganda.
This package isn't going to to make the watermelons start liking them, so I have to assume the motivation is to sell more of the light bulbs. I like compact flourescents, but I really don't believe they are actually going to change things.
This sort of approach would probably be equally effective in Milwaukee, or at least it would be if we had a gang problem here.
The story I linked has aged off the accessible portion of the newspaper's website, and I have put the text into the extended entry.
After more than a year with a beefed-up gang unit, the District Attorney's
Office has boosted the number of gang-related case filings and prison
sentences, according to new statistics released Friday.
San Bernardino County prosecutors filed 48 percent more gang-related cases during the first quarter of the current fiscal year, which began July 1. This is the first time prosecutors could compare year-over-year numbers.
In its report, the District Attorney's Office said it posted 313 gang filings from July 1 to Sept. 30, compared with 211 filings during the same period last year.
Prosecutors also saw an increase countywide in state prison sentences issued to convicted felons, from 99 to 155, and an increase in the number of years in state prison issued, from 528 to 828 years.
But even as law enforcement has waged war on street violence, the county's estimated 16,000 gang members have fought back.
"I think, generally, gang members are more violent and aggressive, a little bit more fearless than they used to be," said Cheryl Kersey, a lead prosecutor in the district attorney's Central Division Hardcore Gang and Career Criminal Unit.
When the District Attorney's Office began to seriously track gang crimes, it only had six specially trained gang prosecutors. Today, that number has jumped to 14, Kersey said.
That translates into more deputy district attorneys who know how to effectively prosecute defendants using special gang enhancements that can add more prison time to sentences, officials said.
District Attorney Michael A. Ramos said the numbers speak for themselves - an increase in each area.
The number of gang enhancements found true was 44 in the first quarter of fiscal year 2006-07, compared with 30 in the previous year.
Juries also found 11 defendants guilty compared with four in the same period last year.
"This means our war against gangs is having an impact," Ramos said in a statement. "We will continue to keep the heat up on the gangbangers to let them know they are not welcome in San Bernardino County."
Since the beefed-up gang unit was formed on July 1, 2005, prosecutors have filed a total of 1,325 gang cases, resulting in 574 prison commitments that amounted to 3,100 years in state prison, including nine life terms, according to the District Attorney's Office.
Additionally, 176 gang enhancements have been found true and 32 defendants have been found guilty in jury trials.
Stronger enforcement from prosecutors also helps cities, such as San Bernardino, that are putting forth an exhaustive effort to prevent gang violence.
"It is important that people who are found to have violated the law are held accountable for that," said Jim Morris, San Bernardino Mayor Pat Morris' son and chief of staff.
That accountability, Jim Morris said, "is critical to a successful crime-fighting strategy."
The mayor won election earlier this year after running on a platform that included a multipronged plan to reduce violence with a balance of suppression and prevention.
"All those combined efforts are having an effect," Jim Morris said.
Still, prosecutors are anxious to keep up the momentum, calling for more manpower and resources, including investigators and support staff.
Some prosecutors are handling as many as 40 felony cases each, while others have 10 homicides apiece - some of them with multiple defendants, according to Kersey.
"We're managing right now, but I would hope that we'll have more deputies to be able to spread some of that workload around," Kersey said.
While backtracking a google hit on the title of a recent post, I happened upon a wretched hive of scum and villainy which shares the name of that post. There are certainly plenty of blogs which are devoted to criticism of leftards and dhimmicrats but to me they lack an unpleasantness I feel in the politics and humor delivered by this radical left wing extremist.
It is not uncommon for conservatives to post unflattering comparisons to unflattering images of liberal figures. The question is whether there is a difference in kind or only in degree between matching John F Kerry with Lurch and matching Rush Limbaugh with John Wayne Gacy. I don't even see the similarity between the latter pair.
One thing I don't recall encountering at conservative blogs is the sneering adolescent superiority which permeates this post. Seasonal entry level positions at big box stores around here pay a buck and change over the minimum wage, and anyway, laid-off Republican staffers will only have to hold out for two years.
Clint has an interesting explanation of why exit polls persistantly lean to the left of the final results. Like him, I voted first thing in the morning because I had to get to work, and like him, I didn't see any exit pollers. Altho I suspect he is right that there are shifts in voting across the course of the day, not everyone who votes when the polls open votes as a conservative. The neighbor who voted just before me is employed, but feeds at the public trough. She's the one I've mentioned who kept her Kucinich yard sign up into the spring of 2005. Showing up early enough to interview her would not shift the exit poll in the same direction as showing up early enough to interview me. The same is most likely true of the young gentleman who was registering to vote at that time. It is no secret that he would have done so with marriage in mind.
On this day in history, a terrorist bombing was prevented, reportedly as a result of one of the plotters having warned a co-religionist to stay out of the building which was to be destroyed. This is something to consider when evaluating current conspiracy theories.
The Wisconsin Democrats are now suggesting that the strategy documents which Owen has been reporting about were stolen from a State Representative's briefcase. This gets them off the hook on the charge of using the taxpayer-funded copier, but at the expense of verifying the authenticity of the alleged playbook. What they should have done is allege that the whole document was a Rovian forgery, since upstanding civic groups like FAIR Wisconsin and the public employees union would never agree to indulge in partisan politics.
Milwaukee suffers from a tendency of motorists to park their vehicles less than fifteen feet from the crosswalk, an action sufficiently harmful to public wellbeing as to warrant a $30.00 fine. Altho the city is diligent about identifying those who have committed this offence, not enough is being done to prevent it. The proper approach would be signs on every block reading "No Parking Here To Corner" but given that this would be unsightly marking the portion of the curb which should not be parked along with orange paint, as is done in some other cities, would be a step in the right direction. Please contact your alderpeople and bring this matter to their attention.
Never let the law get out of your hands.From the comments to this post, at an education blog, about fighting back against school shooters.
Nick brought to my attention an experiment which Scott has proposed in response to recent discussion of the role of armed citizens in public safety. The experiment has been going on for some time. Cities with the harshest victim disarmament laws tend to have the most generous governnment handouts. They tend to have high crime rates, and altho often do quite well on established business are not the places where new wealth is being created.
We who seek legal recognition of our right to bear arms understand that doing so only addresses the symptom. We would do so to make ourselves and our loved ones safer, and if the rest of society benefits, that would be nice. We even understand that concealed carry will not reduce the total number of crimes committed. After all, it takes several shopliftings to pay as much as one armed robbery.
Scott believes it is possible to reduce crime by doing what he calls investing in education and economic development. He doesn't propose to invest his own money; he wants to take money from other people to do this. There is no evidence that giving money to a school bureaucracy unconstrained by competition does anything to improve outcome. As for taxing for econonomic development, that is generally equivalent to fucking for chastity.
There are things government is a suitable means of accomplishing which do further economic development. Much movement of raw materials and finished product is done by truck. Manufacturing firms prefer to locate where roads enable this to be done efficiently. Scott is on record as opposing this form of government investment in economic development. It is easier to do business in a crime-free environment, which is one reason jobs are relatively scarce in the inner city. Maybe Scott will campaign for the strong and effective candidates for sheriff and attorney general. A third way government can further economic development is regulatory agencies more concerned with positive results than power tripping. Maybe Scott will write a post decrying the DNR's actions in driving 600 Menards jobs out of Wisconsin.
In Milwaukee, the city Scott and I care most about, there are jobs which already are going unfilled without any new "investment" in economic development. There is a constant requirement for 300 new Certified Nursing Assistants. MATC already offers the training course, ans some employers will also provide. There is also a need for over the road truck drivers, a job which pays the household median income with one year's experience. Employers again will provide training. The only requirements are a clean background and driving record, things which are not the government's job to provide.
I just happened upon an example, admittedly extreme, of the sort of thing Scott seems to think higher taxes will do more to prevent tha an armed citizenry would.
Those whose purposes are served by evidence that the United States society is racist like to point to the disproportionate presence of young black men in prison as evidence that the criminal justice system is biased. Those who speak for the undocumented are missing the opportunity to make a similar point. The fact that illegal immigrants are in Federal prison at six and one half times the rate of ordinary Americans must be clear proof of prejudice.
We have just learned that my wee wifey has a disability. I hope that it is a rare one, but I believe that it entitles her to "reasonable accomidation" under the Americans With Disabilities Act. She has a speech impediment. It does not effect the ability of other people to understand her; in fact I never noticed it. It only shows up when she attempts to use a voice activated menu at one of those so-called "customer service" telephone numbers.
A link to an odd news story led me to the Daily Mail, where I spotted a headline whch claims that "Harry Potter author tops list of writers Americans most want banned". Not me, pal. I don't even want Michael Moore banned. The article, based on a report from the American Library Association, gives the impression that censorship is rampant in the United States, which may well be the impression they intended to give. They report that there were 3000 attempts to ban the Harry Potter books. This doesn't mean that all the peasants in the village marched on the local bookshop with torches and pitchforks, it means that some nosyparker stood up at a PTA meeting and said "I don't think the school library should be exposing our tender youth to those awful books".
Over at the Assistant Village, the Idiot has a great post on the all too popular notion of furthering one's political philosophy by the act of declining to vote for the candidate whose position somewhat more nearly resembles your own. He points out that except in the primaries, any single vote conveys very little information.
The logic is actually quite simple. Altho primaries offer more possibilities, general elections are binary. You can vote for - A and not B - or you can vote for - B and not A -. Abstaining or voting for a noncontender is a vote for - not A and not B - but it conveys very little information.
The gubernatorial election in Wisconsin four years ago is an excellent example of this. A popular Republican governer had moved into the Federal government, leaving his lieutenant, viewed by many as a RINO, as incumbent. In the Democratic primary, the winner had positioned himself as the moderate. Into this non-fray the Libertarian Pary introduced a candidate with name recognition, the younger brother of the former governor. The only issue on which he had credibility was racial discrimination with regards to gambling, but the incumbant was seen as generally weak on conservative issues, specifically gun rights for one, many people who otherwise wouldn't have chose to vote Libertarian and he pulled ten percent of the vote. End result? The Democrat won, and immediately showed his true colors. On the gambling issue? New pacts with the tribal gambling syndicates which amounted to a total giveaway. On the gun rights issue? Wisconsin is now one of only two states with not even a limited licensed recognition of the right to bear arms. Did the Republican Party recieve any sort of a message? Based on who the party organization has supported in primaries since I don't think so.
The essays, presented as speeches by the characters, which make up much of Atlas Shrugged, did much to shape my worldview, but aside from the fact that I did not buy the entire package, as a work of fiction the book sucked. The only bit of action I enjoyed was near the end when Dangme shot an underling of the other side not for blocking the heroes' way, but for refusing to take the responsibility to either block them or let them thru. This is one of the great evils of the modern era, institutional structures which deny individual responsibility. I refuse to buy my liquor any place where local ordinance or company policy requires the clerk to see my identification instead of judging my age by the laugh lines around my eyes and the grey in my hair. This policy purports to adress underage drinking, which is ultimately a cultural problem, but in fact presumes incompetance on the part of the clerk. The stupidities in the name of zero tolerance for drugs and weapons are too many to count, and some surely have tempted people to shoot those who refuse to make a decision which requires anyone to accept responsibility for that decision.
I don't tend to agree with the opinions of the person who sent me this link, but I am willing to accept his assurance that the poster is a reliable individual, and pass this on with the presumption it is accurate. My take, as per above, is that as important as ity is to keep the tools of terrorism of our airplanes, the people responsible for doing so need to be people capable of intelligent thought.
My Alderman is Smiling Bob Bauman. It could have been worse. Vince Robot also ran for the office (altho that would at least have protected Milwaukee from the risk of having him as sheriff). Given Bob's support for light rail (if not the even stupider Circulator) I am not surprised that he takes pride in being responsible for the hazards recently installed in the pavement of McKinley Boulevard. I received a letter from him asking for feedback on the project.
My opinion of the so-called "speed humps" which are actually unpleasant to drive over at 15 mph? Thank goodness they didn't go in until after I moved off McKinley. I've adjusted my routes so that I can avoid them at all times, and this includes more driving thru alleys. The rare incident of someone driving moderately quickly down the street was less of a problem, and could have been dealt with by effective law enforcement.
You say you are worried about your kid getting run over? I dealt with that concern by taking Emrack for a ride in the country and stopping by the side of the road to point out roadkill racoons, particularly three day old gas-bloated ones buzzing with flies. "This is what happens if you play in the street."
E. Michael McCan't, Milwaukee County's soi desant prosecutor, declared, before this was confirmed, that no perjury had been committed and no charges would be pressed. I know he announced that he would not run for re-election and will be out of office in January, but I think he should be impeached for malfeasance and non-performance. He should not be able to enjoy retirement without the stigma of his systematic failure, and it will also serve pour les encouragement des outres.
Charlie had a caller this morning who insisted that because an airline refused to allow a man to board a plane while displaying a provocative message on his tee-shirt the Constitution is being trampled and we are all losing our freedom of speech. This isn't a freedom of speech issue. It is a freedom not to have speech imposed upon us issue. The Constitution states very specifically that Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. The only laws Congress made which have any bearing on this matter are laws defining the rights and responsibilities of the airline regarding what happens on and around their aircraft.
OTOH, the caller shortly thereafter who insisted that because the message on the tee-shirt terrorized the other passengers, he was a terrorist and should be treated as such. Maybe this would be valid if he had revealed the message after the plane was airborne, but as it happened he was only a raise concernist. The caller was trying to build a slippery slope going uphill, and that doesn't work.
Here's a real clear take on the act of speech in question.
"I'm of the opinion that how to handle Wal-Mart is among the two or three most important issues facing the country."Glenn doesn't think so, but I do. Not for the same reason as the person whose article the quote comes from, tho. It sums up the great divide in this country. On one side you have the people who believe that Wal-Mart should be forced to pay its employees more, so that they could give some of that money to unions, so unions can donate that money to the campaign funds of the sort of politicians who support such notions. On the other side you you have people who understand that Wal-Mart, by serving as a collective bargainer with manufacturers on behalf of the 127 million people who shop there, provides, per the old socialist motto, the greater good for the greater number.
I can't even think of what to say in response to today's bumper sticker:
I already oppose the next war
One of my coworkers is an Oneida who grew up on what he refers to as "The Rez". We asked him today how he feels about athletic teams using Indian names and mascots. He told us the only way he might consider it an insult is if they are losing.
There's a big uproar right now in which people are asserting that Israel's response to Hezbollah's efforts to destroy the nation are not proportionate. This is just silly. Any response is proportionate. The only subject for debate is what is an appropriate proportion. You wanna know how you do it? Here's how, they pull a knife, you pull a gun. They send one of yours to the hospital, you send one of theirs to the morgue. That's the Chicago way.
Reportedly, the vandalism at Wisconsin's Holy Hill shrine was a simple act of immaturity, not guided by any actual beliefs of the participants. Just to be certain, however, I suggest that they should be handed over to the Inquisition and questioned rigorously to root out any incipient heresy.
Living as I do in an emerging urban neighborhood, I see a lot of bumper stickers with which I disagree. One common one caught my eye this morning, and I finally realised just how wrong it is. "Peace is patriotic" is exactly the same grammatic and epistimological error as "Patriotism is peaceful". The two words describe different sorts of things which cannot directly be compared. One could assert that a belief in the importance in peace is patriotic. This would not represent the same sort of error. Given that the word "peace" in that statement would remain a gloss for "not resorting to icky unpeaceful activities in the face of an idealogical enemy which has committed acts of war against our nation and has sworn to destroy it" the thinking would remain fallacious.
This isn't the only bumper sticker out there with an error in it's English usage.
Democratic sleeper agent Mark Belling has carried out the operation for which he has spent years establishing himself as a conservative talk radio host in Milwaukee. He has called upon his listeners to vote the Republican State Legislators out of office because they "aren't conservative enough". He is then going to resume his cover, and when the Democratic Legislature passes the Taxing Body Protection Act, a few common-sense gun safety laws, and formalization of voting rights for Illinois public service union members, he will abuse any caller who does not use the correct phrasing to agree with him how horrible all this is.
I recieved the following via a local Milwaukee email list which on rare occasions has something of interest. A quick googling turned up a mention at DU; Technorati has nothing about it yet. It is just about the most amazingly stupid political action I have ever heard of.
OPERATION EMPTY CHAIRI love the suggestion that everyone, regardless of their beliefs about this war, whether they oppose or support its continuance, would want to take part in this. Other than a replica of Saddam Hussein's throne, I cannot think of a chair I could set out which would show that I am not as oblivious as the people who think this will accomplish anything other than making them feel as good as singing Kumbayah does.
MARCH 19, 2006
It is clear now that we will lose our 3000th American military member before the March 19th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Three years in, untold thousands of innocent Iraqis have also perished. And then there are the thousands upon thousands wounded, and those who will never be the same though they appear unmarked by the violence. These include soldiers and their spouses and children, parents and siblings, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, cousins and best friends. All of these lives have been irrevocably reduced by the loss of what â€˜should have been.â€™
We donâ€™t notice much about this unless we have a family member or friend in the military. We have not been asked to sacrifice, or do much more than stick a decal on our cars. This is unseemly. Such catastrophic events deserve at least that we witness the sacrifices of so many.
Regardless of your beliefs about this war, whether you oppose or support its continuance, those who continue to bear the burden deserve our acknowledgement.
Please join me on March 19th, 2006 in placing an empty chair outside, in front of your home, where it can be seen by all who pass by.
Do this as an act of witnessing that we are a nation at war, to signify that you recognize and have thought deeply about the costs. It can only be a good thing for every street in America to be lined with empty chairs, so that those who fight and those who send them into battle know that we are not oblivious.
Since it is only proper that a citizen should have an informed position on such a momentous act by our government, feel free to embellish your chair in whatever way seems appropriate to you.
I just heard on the radio that the Milwaukee City Coincil just approved an ordinance calling for fines against persons who "loiter in a menacing fashion." I predict lawsuits.
My wee wifey has been involved in Girl Scouting for decades, back to when we were dating. We have at times also worked with Campfire, Boy Scouts and 4H. In recent years she has been a trainer, teaching skills to Girl Scout Leaders which they can pass on to the girls, and right now she is working to establish troops here in the inner city of Milwaukee, where young people are desparately short of productive things to do.
One of the benefits youth groups provide young people, especially in the inner city, is broadening their horizons. A trip to the zoo, or to Old World Wisconsin, or a week at camp, will show them that there is more to live than what they see on the street and in music videos. Unfortunately, there is legislation in the pipeline which will make it far more difficult to undertake such excursions. Despite the absence of statistics demonstrating improved safety from them, Wisconsin will be requiring child car seats for everyone up to the age of eight. Since many of the girls we are trying to reach live in carless single parent households and thus would not possess a car seat, either someone will have to make a rarely-used investment or busses will have to be chartered for even the most trivial excursion. Ain't gonna happen. Instead urban recruitment will start with Juniors instead of Brownies and the results will inevitably be reduced.
Wendy notes that the foolish child seat law will discourage a lot more travel than just some Brownie Scout field trips. The entire economy of the Wisconsin Dells region is based on Flatlanders bringing their children up there. Once people start getting fined for doing so, some very large investments are not going to pay off.
Bill Quick asks a rhetorical question to which the appropriate answer would be "Not if they can help it."
It should be noted that Bertolt Brecht, as far Left as he was, provided an answer to his own rhetorical question which has been consistantly ignored by the modern Left.
What if they gave a war and nobody came?
Why, then, the war would come to you."
The tragedy of the commons is not that individuals are unable to contract consensual arrangements to protect their mutual long term interests. The tragedy of the commons is that there is one caring individual who notices that there is Illinois Bunchgrass growing on the commons which we need to preserve for future generations and is able use this as a reason to prevent all grazing.
Yet another reason to homeschool? Not so much the incident, but the fact that, as noted by one of the commenters, schools tend to have a policy for just about everything, and substitute that policy for assesment of the situation.
It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand on its own.Thomas Jefferson, 1782, quoted by Dan Smoot, conservative broadcaster, in 1963.
Lastango at the Daily Pundit has linked a report on a campaign by Georgia law enforcement to arrest small merchants for the felony of selling common legal household items. The proclaimed purpose is to prevent tweakers from cooking their own meth. The criminal organizations (violent motorcycle "clubs" and Mexican cartels) who, by DEA estimates, supply 80% of the country's crank, will have little trouble picking up the slack, and "drug money" which would have returned to the local economy will instead remain in the gangs' coffers.
Emrack has shared with me an anecdote which fits with the problem of immigrant shopkeepers not comprehending the ramifications of some of the items they carry. He had walked into the corner market by where he is staying in the Kansas City barrio looking for papers. When he responded to a wave toward the newspapers with a shake of his head, the man behind the counter said "Ah, you want weed papers." My son felt it important to explain the game they needed to play. "We need to pretend that I am buying these for a legal purpose" even tho he'd never bought a sack of Drum "or at least that you don't know why I'm buying them." A simple lecture like that would have made it harder for the Georgia cops to entrap so many people, especially since aluminum foil is almost as good as rolling paper as a test shim for tight fits.
Apparently you believe that living free is not worth fighting for, a position only ever taken by spoiled free people.From a comment to this post, itself well worth reading.
Glenn quotes Hitch asking "What do you have to believe in order to keep alive your conviction that the Bush administration conspired to launch a lie-based war?" You'll find the perfect answer in the second comment here, in response to Jane Gal't link to a worthy article on another topic of debate.
Bizzyblog has found the most militant statement I've ever seen in favor of personal ownership of motor vehicles. The foes of the automobile are as militant and as irrational as all the rest of the naysayers, and this rant spells out how wrong they are.
The first batch I've had to deal with are the ones who are able to get by just fine with a bicycle so everyone else should be able to also. Typically a grad student in a college town, transporting groceries for no more than one other person. At the time I was frequenting the same fora as this crowd, I was transporting groceries for, and the members of, a household of twelve. One was a wheelchairbound dementia patient and another was an autistic six year old. Thru death and dispersion we are just about down to just the two of us, but even after the wee wifey has the long-delayed knee replacement it won't make sense for her to bike to work thru our part of town at 10:30 at night.
The other batch are the mass transit crowd. The fact that mass transit can work in cities where the investment has been long sunk and destinations cluster around the terminals is not evidence that it makes sense to invest the money to build a system now in a city where destinations are scattered. Here in Milwaukee the light rail advocates based their criticism of its opponents consistantly on the mysterious accusation that anyone who didn't want to see a capital-intensive inflexible transportation system built here was therefore obviously racist.
Whilst trying to keep up with the output of my fellow Munuvians, I happened upon Mark Nicodemo's link to a report on 2005's top victim stories. Mark asks, rhetorically, "Wouldn't you like to be a victim too?" There are those for whom it is essential to their ideology and objectives that we in fact accept that invitation.
This is why the gun-banners are the same people who raise the bogeys of racism and sexism and economic inequality. I have long referred to the anti-gun crowd as the victim-disarmament movement, and now it occurs to me that this is exactly their purpose. The woman I married could have been a victim of the White Male hegemony, as manifested by a drunken neighbor kicking in the door of her apartment, but she chose not to and capped off a couple rounds in his direction. In choosing not to be a victim she was rejecting their entire package, and this is why possesing the means of self defense is is a right they seek to deny us.
If I understand things correctly, the indictment of Tom Delay is based on the premise that certain money received by his PAC as donations from corporations was identically the money donated by the PAC to functions where corporations could not donate, and that he personally was a knowing participant in this transaction. All they will need to do do beat this charge will be to bring in the United Way chairperson from any place of employment to give the standard spiel about how it isn't your money going to the charity you have issues with.
This story caught my eye amongst the sidebar headlines, after I followed one of the links from Michele's good news post about Katrina. I myself leave zip-ties laying around in my car; I appreciate the fact that they tighten more easily than they loosen. I don't transport youngsters who wouldn't understand the potential hazard. More significantly, I carry a knife.
The mother in this news story was fortunate that the motorist she flagged down was carrying a knife. Her true good fortune is that she lives in a society where it is legal, and in most circles acceptable, to carry a knife. I've never done anything this important with mine, but every now and again I've been able to help people out of inconveniences. I got my wee wifey a little skeleton framelock folder which snaps onto her keyring. It cost less than $20 dollars, and it is nice to know she has it with her. Someone should have done the same for this woman, or she should have gotten her own, and so should everyone else.
There has been some discussion hither and yon as to whether it is possible to be a "left libertarian", a position which some bloggers claim identify themselves. One stereotype, balancing others, would that they believe the government should pay for medical marijuana.
It must be recognised that, in general, leftists do not see property rights the way the rest of us do. They do not see taxes as a coercive taking, but as a way for everyone else to contribute their own share. Thus it is internally logical to take the libertarian ideal that the sole function of government is to protect people from things from which they cannot protect themselves, and extend this to such threats as relative povery and secondhand smoke. It really isn't that much less well thought out a position than the Big L notion that vouchers constitute a victory for the government school monopoly.
Milwaukee County's Sheriff, David Clarke, has been a controversial figure at least since he decided to run for that office. The department's employee union actively opposed him, allegedly because he would eliminate much slack from the members' work load. Some of the usual voices suggested that opposition to him was racist, until he entered the mayoral primary on a relatively conservative platform. Then it was alleged that white voters preferred him to the other black candidate because he had a lighter complexion.
David Clarke did not do well in the Mayoral primary, and is still the Sheriff, and still controversial. One of his deputies publicly criticized him, and, in a tradition older than organized police departmwents, received a crappy assignment in return. Some local conservatives see this as reason to be thankful that Clarke was not elected mayor, perhaps influenced by press reports that the assignment was hazardous duty. Altho 27th and North is not the classiest intersection in Milwaukee, those of us who compare it to the bad parts of Chicago rather than to Brookfield or West Bend are perfectly comfortable there. In fact, my wee wifey caught a bus there just last Thursday. Interestingly, it appears that people in the area think that having law enforcement officers on foot patrol is a good thing.
The true test of someone else's intelligence is how much they think like you. Altho his application is the contrapositive of my own, Drumwaster sees as I do the significance of flag burning. It is a ritual equivalent to making a wax simulacrum of Uncle Sam with amber waves of grain for his hair and sticking a pin thru the heart. The dirrerence here is that I have been opining for at least a decade that it is those who are calling for Constitutional protections for symbolic representation of our nation are the ones guilty of magical thinking.
In the course of driving around the Chicago suburbs, I happened to drive past an unusual place of business. It was in a residence next to the expressway, and reachable only via a long gravel driveway. Curiosity led me to check out the website (Not Safe For Work). Somehow I get the impression that what ultimately goes on is exactly what the disclaimer says doesn't.
I would like to point out by the way that whatever social cost one might account to such an operation, it is surely less than that of a skank standing under a streetlight.
Law Professor Ann Althouse is wondering whether there should be an all-women law school. This is one of the most frightenining proposals I have ever heard. Some women simply don't want to go to law school.
As to whether there should be a law school exclusively for women, that is another question entirely. I would think that the benefits such a school would offer could be achieved with a woman-oriented program within a larger law school, and that this would avoid both the need for duplication of resources and the risk of takeover by the men-are-the-enemy brigade.
My parents were "non-aligned Marxists" which means they drifted away from the Communist Party when its ties to the Soviet government became an embarrasment. The true name I'm not using includes a disguised (they were that paranoid) reference to a family friend who was a hero at the Battle of Jarama during the Spanish Civil War. They never bothered actively trying to indoctrinate me, probably because they took it for granted I would absorb the True Faith. One thing I did pick up on was my mother's utter disdain for the Trotskyites, who believed that as a mere handful, they would be sufficient to Bring The Revolution.
Scroll down thru this collection of images from the recent anti-everything demonstration. Note the sign reading "Break with the Democrats. - Party of Racism & War! For a workers party that fights for socialist revolution". The Spartacist League is a splinter faction which split from the mainstream Trotskyites for betraying the true spirit of revolution. I share my mother's disdain.
It looks like yet another domino is starting to tip.
There has been a lot of discussion around Wisconsin about the beer distributor employee who lost his job after a photo of him drinking a competitor's product appeared in a local newspaper. A lot of people think that he was treated unfairly, and that what he does on his own time is none of his employer's business. If he had merely been seen drinking the wrong brand by a coworker who reported him, I would agree. I do not believe that it was the choice of beer which cost him his job, but rather the decision to share his identity with the reporter. Most people are flattered to be depicted in the nightlife column, but his occupation carried with it an obligation to say no thank you, after which journalistic ethics would have given the paper an obligation not to depict a man who made his living moving pallets of Miller products endorsing (as management viewed it) Bud Light.
Actually, the most effective way to cheat on a drug test is to actually abstain. In Sizemore's case it is probably better for him that he got caught, but pre-employment screenings create a situation where an occasional user is more likely to indulge after, rather than before, landing a new job.
I don't recall where the comment thread was in which someone mentioned the book Class by Paul Fussell, but I found the book to be well worth reading. The book is still wonderfully amusing, but much has changed since it was published in 1983. The association of "Nerd" with "Prole" has faded, and his "Category X" of people who have stepped away from the class status ladder has expanded and even begun to stratify.
One item in the book, however, I found particularly timely. As an appendix, there is a fictional advice column for people who wish to present themselves as upper class.
Dear Sir: What about the class aspects of standing on the sidewalk in a large cityy and eating a hot dog or similar viand bought from a street peddler presiding over one of those little carts? Puzzled
Dear puzzled: Only people very expensively dressed or terribly good-looking can do this without impairing their status. Middle-class people demean themselves further by doing this sort of thing, but uppers can confirm their high status by it, like appearing at an afternoon ball game in a costlysuit, suggesting that you're doing the occasion honor. You also, in both activities, get high class-credit for your upper-class magnanimity in appearing to be democratic.
John Kerry failed consistantly and spectacularly at this, yet never stopped trying.
As well as being my home these days, Milwaukee is also the ome of the Sawzall, a powerful tool for construction or demolition. I always figured it was a tool The Great Carnak would have used when he knewzall and toldzall.
In reviewing posts here and about regarding voting irregularities in Wisconsin, I recalled having posted about the prospect before the election. I swear I predicted that Wisconsin's swing to the right would require stealing so many votes to overwhelm it that the fraud would be visible. It must have been in a comment somewhere, as I wasn't quite that prescient in any of these three posts.
Blaster noticed the significance of the story of the kid who survived driving a truck bomb in Baghdad. "[T]he terrorists can't even scare up enough suicide bombers. They have to resort to lies and trickery." It would seem that U.S. policies are not in fact creating terrorists faster than our soldiers can kill them off. I will take it one step further. If this is what they have to work with there cannot be a large enough supply that they can skim off the cream and then send them to carry out autonymous operations in the Unites States. I guess that when I assert that I am safer now than I was before it is not only because when I go walking north of Vliet after dark I am accompanied by an intimidating canine who loves me.
Jeff writes about the stupidity of zero tolerance policies in schools, and suggests that kids will think "Hmmm... They have lied to me about aspirin, what else have they lied to me about? Booze? Pot? Heroin?".
This really happened. At the tail end of the Peruvian Marching Powder era, it was not unusual to hear "They lied to us about pot; how were we to know they were telling the truth about cocaine?" Marijuana, while not harmless, is innocuous. While many of us wasted much time while wasted, few people did themselves any obvious harm by using it. When cocaine first appeared on the scene it seemed similarly innocuous, and when it was a rare delicacy, it was. Then it became readily available. I saw many people decide that potsmoking wasn't for them, and simply stop, but I saw people realize they had a problem with cocaine, and proceed to put their businesses up their noses. Having reasonably evaluated the Reefer Madness warnings as bogus, they disregarded warnings about cocaine until it was too late for them.
Today we have a subtler problem. For various reasons, a certain percentage of the population will choose to use one or another intoxicant. Misguided policies addressing this make this more of a problem than it could otherwise be. When I knew several people in my dormitory who always had pot for sale, binge drinking to the current degree of overdose was unheard of. When drug use is demonized, there is no room for teaching moderation. It is acceptable to run "public service announcements" offering swacked out dudes in their mother's basement accomplishing nothing as a role model, but I am not given the opportunity to suggest to such dudes that since the kick is in getting high as much as in being high, that they could maximise their enjoyment by taking a break and accomplishing something before taking another toke.
When I suggested taking a break, I neglected to mention that I did not mean 'till the Simpson's come on. Lent provides a handy arbitrary framework, and a good excuse to give to those would offer to stoke you up.
We didn't have it so bad. The Mayor didn't particularly care, the Police Chief didn't particularly care, and the District Attorney is notorious for not prosecuting aggressively, but the street cops and the district commanders really tried to clean things up, and the new County Sheriff is a real fighter. There has been corruption in the City Council, but it was relatively benign, just a little sloppy bookkeeping between campaign funds built on contributions from real estate developers and city contractors and their personal accounts. The drug dealers were selling crack and heroin, so we didn't have the environmental disaster of a meth lab. The kids were neglected but not abused, and the prostitution was casual and apparently not forced. The nastiest firearm I saw being used was a cut down, pistol gripped .22 rifle; scary looking but singularly ineffective. But even if you live in the shining city on the hill, with the only drug dealers kindly people selling kind bud, Frank Martin's real message should be perfectly clear.
We need to hunt down the people responsible for this, and sentence them to a lifetime of taking customer service calls, since it is so important to them that such jobs remain in the U.S.
The Left in Wisconsin, from Diamond Jim the Governor on down, are saying that there is no need to legislate limits on taxation; after all recent increases have been quite moderate. I guess I don't need to wear a seatbelt, I haven't been in an accident where one would protect me since 1976.
Driving the wee wifey to work this evening, I passed a billboard advertising Jack Daniels Whiskey with the claim "Turning nights into stories since 1866." Here's a suggestion. Drink only enough to be the one telling the stories, not the one they are about.
Blawger Ann Althouse was Christmas shopping, and her Bar Association credit card (which no doubt carries perks of specific value to a lawyer) educed a particularly nasty lawyer joke. My low-end engineering background has taught me the value of negative feedback as a control strategy, and such behavior from a store clerk warrants negative feedback. Unless the purchases could not be made elsewhere, and the items were the exact presents to please loved ones, I would have cancelled the purchase and left in a noisy huff. Telling a person spending money at your business that their death would make the world a better place does not approach the realm of good customer relations, and teaching store clerks good customer relations would make the world a better place.
I am specifically not a Constitutional lawyer (nor am I a wine expert) but my position on this issue was already in line with that of Professor Bainbridge. I've asserted that the ban on interstate tariffs should apply to Internet sales tax, but the applicability is even clearer here. Tariffs are commonly a protectionist policy; it is arguably unconstitutional for one state to block the purchase of products from another.
To really set the cat among the pigeons, my other assertion regarding the Constitution is that in the Second Amendment, the word State is used as a synonym for Condition.
There was a time when Steven Den Beste would have written an essay describing the methods an engineer might use to determine whether anomalous research data was valid, and then tie it into a discussion of the validity and significance of the election outcome. The emails picking nits out of his secondary points have taken the fun out of blogging for him, so he distilled it all into a three word essay. I understand that this still wasn't perfect enough for everyone.
Much of my time at work over the last several weeks has been spent working with others on chasing down what we thought were two separate problems regarding mobile call handovers between our network and our roaming partner to the north. Everything fell into place yesterday, and the process is functioning correctly as of today, but if we had paid attention from the beginning to where I was when initiating test calls, we would have seen that both issues were part of the same problem, and solved it much sooner. No doubt the uncertainty in the pre-election polls and the utter inaccuracy of the exit polls have been due in part to similar failures to track essential but seemingly trivial and irrelevant details. This happens when people are too rigid in their assumptions as to how a system functions. I'm just not up for turning all this into a coherent explanation.
Virginia Postrel has been following the Democratic Party Convention, and, as is her wont, has been looking at substance and style. She picked an interesting passage from Clinton's speech to look at in detail.
We think the role of government is to give people the tools and conditions to make the most of their lives. Republicans believe in an America run by the right people, their people, in a world in which we act unilaterally when we can, and cooperate when we have to.
Nothing in there which can't be parsed to be true, if you hold "unilateral" equal to "without the French". The first sentence, as she says, "can describe anything from a classical liberalism ... to a Swedish-style welfare state." I find it both interesting and satisfying to compare and contrast that with what I posted recently about the role of government. Making the most of one's life could indeed mean the same as benefiting from one's endeavors and thereby benefiting others. Too bad that isn't quite what Clinton meant by it.
The strangest thing about the victim disarmament movement is the way its members view guns. Rather than seeing inanimate objects, tools with the potential to be used for good or bad purposes, they see the embodyment of evil. To me it smacks of Voudoun, but a friend who studied Christian theology identified it with Gnosticism and Manicheanism.
Such a believe can lead a person into doctrinal error, but it can also lead to illegal acts. A group of clergy in Chicago apparantly believe their spiritual power can overwhelm the evil power of guns, and thereby prevent G-d only knows how many deaths (other than guns turned in by criminals to break the chain of evidence, the statistics are strongly against any of these guns being a factor in a death). They problem is that in their hubris, they are, according to Illinois law, trafficking illegally in firearms, possessing unregistered firearms, and most likely possessing firearms without the state's mandatory Firearms Owner ID. Law enforcement authorities are blatantly uninterested in enforcing the law regarding this matter, presumeably because Chicago's mayor is an avowed adherant to the same primitive belief. I doubt that this violates the Establishment Clause as it was originally intended, but clearly it could be deemed a violation of the modern notion of separation of church and state.
Most of my end of the blogosphere was taking and discussing the so-called "Libertarian Purity Test" a few days ago. Xrlq took the test, scored a 57, as compared to my 31, and still raised the same objections which I have. He even put "purity" in quotes, which suggests that he shares my believe that libertarian purity is an oxymoron. Suman Palit, who identifies himself as a lbertarian, scored a 55 and raises similar objections to the test's approach.
The first interesting thing about the test is how non-linear the scoring is. My 31 out of 160 is supposed to put me solidly in their camp; I just need to guzzle more of the Kool-Aid. This is a standard Libertarian tactic, and I believe that it does them more harm than good. The majority of the US population, if asked in vague generalities, believes we would be better off with less government. Despite this, the Libertarian Party rarely draws five percent of the vote in major elections, and was lucky to get ten percent in the last Wisconsin gubernatorial election, with a candidate with great name recognition running against mediocre candidates from both major parties. As far as I can tell, they still foresee eventual victory if they continue doing what they have been.
Separation of school and state is a tenet of pure libertarian doctrine. School vouchers still mean the government is collecting and distributing money for education and cannot be seen as an improvement. To the impure libertarian vouchers are seen as loosening the grip of the government/union school monopoly, and to many parents who never considered libertarianism, they are an opportunity to perhaps improve their children's chance of a good education. My own position is that the existing school boards might as well continue running the schools they do, but that every parent should get vouchers, which they can use to send their children where they see fit, and if the government schools need more money per student than the competition it is up to them to justify it. Parents who educate at home would get special limited vouchers for curriculum materials, and would get access to structured schools for such facilities as laboratories, workshops, gymnasia and shooting ranges.
There is a Libertarian bumper sticker which says "Drugs are bad but the Drug War is worse" and most people tend to agree. Majorities have voted for laws giving regulated access to medical marijuana to those who can benefit from it, and reduced penalties or decriminalization of recreational use of the same herb does not horrify most people. Elimination of all drug laws, as the pure libertarians advocate, does. Even I, now in my 35th year of youthful experimentation (and, at the moment, my 30th year of abstaining during Lent) understand what a mistake that would be, at least until we can work our way to establishing a culture of moderation.
One introduction to libertarianism which I read (I regret that I have been able to identify the book even after searching my memory, the web, and the library's online catalog) contained a series of graphs purporting to show that government action did not effect such trends as increased integration and increased industrial safety. This is embarrassingly naÃ¯ve. Trends do not remain linear. Anyone who watched either process knows beyond a doubt that regardless of the flaws of Affirmative Action or the stupidity of having factories inspected by people with no factory experience, both Civil Rights legislation and OSHA served to overcome resistance to further change.
I don't want to get into the whole "anti-interventionist" thing, other than to point out that "Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins" ought not mean "you have a perfect right to go around beating people up as long as you leave me alone".
In my opinion, and the results of the Purity Test I have seen posted seem to support this, impure libertarianism, also known as pragmatic libertarianism, has a broader following than Libertarianism. We could, perhaps, take over the Libertarian Party, but I think it would be more effective, even tho it will take several election cycles, to take over the Republican Party. I will leave development of a strategy for doing one or the other to everyone else who scored in the 30s thru the 60s.
I am fascinated by the popular hostility toward Wal-Mart. When it was announced that they planned to open a new store on the south side of Milwaukee, activists claimed that the community didn't want it, what was wanted was small independent specialty stores. Funny thing is that the land Wal-Mart planned to build on was available because a mall which used to host such shops had turned into a ghost town because nobody shopped there and thus the small businesses had either failed or moved elsewhere.
One common criticism is that Wal-Mart squeezes their suppliers on pricing. Well, duh! Anyone who buys things for resale does that. Wal-Mart's purchasing volume and logistics sophistication means that it costs less to sell to them; they, and their customers ought to get the benefit. Sears, once this country's largest retailer, was notorious within manufacturing circles for how they treated the manufacturing companies which produced Kenmore and Craftsman merchandise, encouraging them to add capacity to meet promised volume and then threatening to withdraw the order without further concessions.
The most amusing criticism I ever heard was from a young woman who hated Wal-Mart because they treated their employees so well that they were willing to work without being unionized. I asked her if she would like them better if they treated their employees worse, but somehow we never made sense of each others positions.
Antidisestablishmentarianism is more than just a big word which we had fun knowing. It has been an important political issue in England, and it has relevance to an important issue in the United States.
Just as any discussion of the Second Amendment must begin with the understanding that the battles at Lexington and Concord were fought against the gun-grabbers, so too any discussion of the non-establishment clause must begin with the understanding of the role of the established church in the government of the time. To this day, the Church of England is a part of the government of Great Britain. Altho its grip has loosened, it has never been disestablished. Being Roman Catholic, or being married to a Roman Catholic, is still disqualification for being crowned King or Queen.
At the time of the War of Independence, and for some time thereafter, being an adherent to any faith other than that of the Established Church was a bar from many other forms of advancement. Marriages performed by Nonconformist clergy had no legal standing, and the oath of office for Parliament included an affirmation that one held that the adoration of Mary and the Saints, as practiced by the Church of Rome, constituted idolatry. This is what the Framers wanted to block. They may have intended to separate Church and State, altho that phrase never appeared in the Constitution, but there is no basis for claiming that they intended to separate religion and State. Using the establishment clause to block firefighters from decorating the firehouse as they see fit, or to defend the government school monopoly goes against the Framers intent. Laws banning prayer in the schools would in fact be unconstitutional, since they would be prohibiting the free exercise of religion.