Archives for the Month of October 2006 on Jeffrey Quick's Blog

He's got Jesus now.

Evidently shouting in public is a capital offence in Illinois:

JERSEYVILLE, Illinois A teenager carrying a Bible and shouting "I want Jesus" was shot twice with a police stun gun and later died at a St. Louis hospital, authorities said.

This seems to have been more a Not Followink Ze Orders problem than a police problem with rowdy Christians. But darned if I can see what the kid did to deserve being interfered with, let alone killed.

Odd news to be printed on the eve of All Saints Day.

City Club getting gamed

The City Club of Cleveland is taking a look at its role in political debates after most candidates this year found a way to manipulate the format.

Yes, packing the hall with your supporters and giving them prepared questions to ask isn't in the spirit of the thing.


I do believe the City Club has held debates in which not all candidates were invited. If they've played bipartisan politics with nonpartisan debates, they are no better than Betty Sutton's supporters...or Case Western.

It would be fairly easy to rein in spoiled brats like Blackwell and Strickland. Legitimate organizations like the City Club, League of Women Voters etc. should simply invite everyone on the ballot, and if a D or R takes a snit, let them stay home. If they want to organize their own political infomercial, let them use their own money. And let the press cover the DEBATES and not the INFOMERCIALS. All it would take is a few of the enabling organizations (in the 12-Step sense) to stand on principle, and the games would cease.

West Virginians for the Byrd

He uses two canes, and his hands shake. But even the kids like him because...

"It's not that we deserve more money than other states, but if he wasn't there, we probably wouldn't get as much as we should," said Ally Hagsett, a Marshall University sophomore and Republican. "While he's alive, we'd better get as much as we can."

...he brings home the swag.

At 88, it's about time for him to put on his robes of white. Again.

Digital library models: Fox vs. NPR

Here's an overblown quote for you:

"The question is whether the knowledge of the world will be property of a private company or open to all," Open Content Alliance founder Brewster Kahle told AFP. "Google thinks public is private."

Oh, the horrors, that Google wants to make money by digitizing the contents of the world's libraries, which are generally "public", i.e., government-owned. Never mind that that "knowledge" will be in the same place it always has been (in "public" hands), or that OCA is relying on eevul profit-driven Micro$oft and Yahoo to make their project happen, or that people's bitch with Google has been that they've been digitizing "knowledge" which is already allegedly "private".

I say, the more the merrier. There's enough public domain stuff to be digitized that a dozen companies/organizations/consortia could get involved. As business models are evolved, rights to specific holdings will get traded around, weaker players will drop out, and we'll end up with a small group of digital libraries that are extremely good at getting information into people's hands. And my bet is that the winning model will be profit-driven.

Tragedy on the farm

Our one mature doe rabbit has been expecting. I put the nest box in last weekend...a little early maybe, but these days I have to do what I can do, when I can do it. I went out to check on her yesterday morning, and she had pulled fur and made a the corner of the cage, not in the nest box. I freaked, as cages are no impediment to baby rabbits. I scooped up all the fur I could and put it and the rabbit into the nest box. I saw that she had built up the floor of the nest with wood shavings from the box. Then she started taking the hair out. "OK, you win," I said. "Maybe you know something about this that I don't."

The lousy weather got worse at night, with wind howling. "In diesen Wetter, in diesem Braus..."

The sun was bright when I checked on them this morning. A nervous pacing mom, and a small pile of fur, not moving. Blood on the bottom of the platform she had made, so she'd given birth. In the next cage, two very dead baby rabbits. Uh-oh. I found the other 6 in back of the hutch, equally dead.

Naturally, I am kicking myself for romantic notions of animal instincts. "Dumb bunny" isn't just an expression. She guessed at "the place most like a burrow", and guessed wrong, and I, as the intelligent human, should have corrected her. She knew what a nest box was for, as she'd used it last time, so what was her aversion? Oh well, next time. But now that won't be until March. She needs 6 weeks recovery, and with the hutch outside (enclosed on 3 sides, soon 4), I don't want to breed until Frebruary at earliest.

I went out and dug turnips, a job I will finish when I post this, now that I'm warm. That hose water is way too close to freezing. If I get the daikon, and a few oddments of greens, harvest will be over.

Gaak! The American male really IS being feminized!

Over the past two decades, levels of the sex hormone in U.S. men have been falling steadily, a new study finds.

For example, average total testosterone levels in men aged 65 to 69 fell from 503 nanograms/decileter (ng/dL) in 1988 to 423 ng/dL in 2003.

They don't know why. My suggestion: compare the fall to soy intake.

Union asks Canada Post to censor mail

That's what it amounts to. And if the post office won't, its workers will.

In a government monopoly, this labor action was totally illegetimate, as it constitutes de-facto censorship. Not that the Canadians have any problem with that; in the '70s listening to CBC, I used to marvel at mention of the "Ontario Board of Censors". But on the other hand, couldn't the religious loons who sent this mailing out have sprung for some envelopes? Sort of a "don't ask, don't tell" policy for anti-gay literature?

Christopher Soghoian, American patriot

A 24-year-old computer security student working on his doctorate at Indiana University Bloomington has created a Web site that allows anyone with an Internet connection and a printer to create and print fake boarding passes for Northwest Airlines flights.
"I don't want to help terrorists or help bad guys do bad things on airplanes, but what we have now is what we in the industry call 'security theater.' It's made to make you think you're secure without actually making you secure," Soghoian said. "As a member of the academic research community, I consider this to be a public service."

Naturally, the TSA doesn't agree. Nor do a whole hoast of bloviating opportunist politicians (but I repeat myself) like Edward Markey.

Soghoian points out that Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) publicized the same security hole in April 2006. "Perhaps Sen. Schumer will end up being my cellmate," Soghoian said.

One could hope...

The page is down, but Chris' homepage is here.

Woman booted from jury for numerology

This woman is a moonbat. And apparently, numerology was the least of her moonbattiness. But in this insane nation, doesn't a trial by a jury of your peers include wackos?

Candidate sues with the wrong argument

John J. Sullivan, independent candidate for lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, is suing CBS for not including him in the televised debate. Both sides are standing on the 1st Amendment.

Much as I hate to say it, CBS is right here. Sullivan's free speech right doesn't include an obligation for CBS to provide him a soapbox. Their station, their rules, end of story.

Bu this "bipartisan=nonpartisan" crap has to stop. I'd like to see CBS taken into court for making illegal campaign contributions in-kind to the Democrat and Republican. Of course, our campaign finance laws are ALSO a gross violation of the 1st Amendment, but as long as the courts continue to deny the obvious, we might as well use the law to our advantage.

T -11 days: will you vote for the status quo?

I let out a little fart of disgust about the 'Fraid Chickens (Teddeth Blackland), and it gets linked to the Peirce campaign blog. Thanks, I'm flattered, but I feel like I haven't done anything or enough or whatever. There's no time in my day to campaign. All I can do is shout out the idea that voting for the lesser of the evils isn't working.

It's like pulling teeth though. I've got a friend who claims to be a socialist (hey, I'm working on him), and he can't bring himself to vote for Fitrakis because Blackwell scares him so badly. "But Strickland is 12 points ahead in the polls!" No matter. It's as if people were hypnotized. The same people who don't drink mass market beer or drink mass market food, who don't listen to Top 40 radio...will still vote for mass market politicians.

I enjoyed the College Republican stunt though. I've done my share of concrete work, and there's no shame in working a float or trowel. Being a Congressman, on the other hand... And Dr. Peirce has too much class to whine on the blog about his supporters being sent to the back of the bus to a hill 1000 feet away from the action. However I, being a former cement worker, don't have that much class (per Ted Strickland), so I can say THAT SUCKS!

Uncovered meat

To the Muslim cleric in Australia who blamed the victim in some gang rapes:

Not every animal likes the same kind of meat. And you don't wear a hijab. So it's your fault if Big Bruce has his way with you, isn't it?

Save 'em, then send 'em back.

A van full of illegals flipped in Texas: 1 dead, 20 injured.

Before the anti-immigrant crowd starts frothing at the mouth about the costs of this tragedy, I want to say that the authorities handled this perfectly. They got people to the hospital ASAP. Human life is human life, and it needed to be saved, regardless of legal status. If I were in an accident in Mexico, I'd want emergency care.

But there's one more thing to be done: once these patients are stable, they need to be life-flighted to the nearest Mexican hospital. That's what I'd want the Mexicans to do for me, if I were in that situation. Golden Rule and all....

Ballot language "counts"

Speaking of proposals to rob smokers...

Arizona has one on the ballot for early childhood education and health. It's 80 cents a pack, according to its supporters. But what it says in the ballot language is ".80 cents", i.e. 4/5 cent per pack. Their secretary of state says, "that's a highly technical reading". But the law IS technical, by nature. It was a technical reading by which Ken Blackwell disenfranchised the Libertarians in 2003, and folks like rightwingprof were telling me to suck it up, that Kenny was just doing his job by enforcing the law. Well, Clay, where do you stand on this? I say that if they can't even articulate how much they are going to steal, they don't deserve it, and if the voters think otherwise, then backers should come back to them for the other 79.2 cents.

Worst part of the story is this leadoff by Mary Jo Pitzl
(isn't that the diminutive of "putz"?)

Early-childhood-education and health programs on next month's ballot could lose millions of dollars if a misplaced decimal point is interpreted technically.

'Scuse me, kids aren't going to lose ANYTHING, not even if this proposal fails. If it passes, they are going to get either .80 cents/pack or 80 cents/pack that they didn't have before. This is just another case of the assumption that "all your money belongs to us."

Rum-running in Somalia

You know that flap about Minneapolis Somali cabbies carrying alcohol? It turns out it was never an issue in the old country. The people who have been making it an issue aren't even Somali, but Arab: the American branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. All the more reason not to make special accomodations.

"I'm the only one allowed to exploit my wife."

Oh, this is rich:

Michael Schiavo criticized Bob Casey Jr. and Pennsylvania Democrats yesterday for using the death of his wife, Terri, as a weapon against U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R., Pa.) in the Senate race this fall.

This from the guy who started TerriPAC, to funnel money to opponents of those Congressmen who voted for intervention in his late wife's case?

Danish cartoon paper off the hook

A Danish court dismissed the Muslim lawsuit against Jyllands-Posten over "those cartoons".

The lawsuit said the cartoons depict Muhammad "as belligerent, oppressing women, criminal, crazy and unintelligent, and a connection is made between the Prophet and war and terror."

Hmmm, maybe these organizations should be suing other Muslims. Some of them are making some pretty explicit connections between the Prophet and terror.

Pervert poker

"I'll see your child flasher and raise you a cokehead."

Two more weeks! Will I live that long?

Anyone notice that Bill Peirce doesn't have any opinions about whose staff is more twisted? And hasn't been engaged in negative campaigning?

The impotence of socialism

At its core, soCIALISm is impotent. Because of the muting or elimination of market signals, sustained growth doesn't occur, unless fed by external and unnatural inputs. Further, soCIALISm undermines the manhood of the working man, by making him dependent on the government's hand in order to overcome a hard life.

This observation is triVIA,GRAnted. But fun to contemplate.

Thanks to Case blog-admin Jeremy Smith, for pointing out the not-obvious in the course of doing his job.

Why polls are meaningless

When "Hillary Clinton" is put up against McCain or Giuliani, she pulls different numbers than if "Hillary Rodham Clinton" is put up against the same names.

Is the electorate really that stupid? Do they only have a 5-syllable attention span, so that they forget she was the Prevaricator-in-Chief's co-president? Does she sound more important or powerful with a longer name?

Such wonderful people

The Seattle Post-intelligencer goes on at length about two charming women, Jennifer Kolar and Lacey Phillabaum, wondering amidst the praise how such perfect people could be convicted eco-terrorists.

Taranto notes that, had their terrorism been directed at abortion clinics instead of scientific laboratories, they wouldn't get that kind of treatment from a major newspaper. Indeed, where are the warm fuzzy stories about Islamic terrorists or anti-government extremists? Maybe they're looking for penpals who could turn into romantic interests after they're free...especially given that it was probably Phillabaum's boyfriend who ratted on her.

I think that genetically-improved poplars are a wonderfully Green goal, myself...but then I'm an animal-exploiting, fossil-fuel-guzzling anti-government extremist, so what would I know?

In Wishek ND, a renaissance

6% of the high school students play accordion, which is taught in school.

Wunnerful, wunnerful!

Don't show your paintings in Russia

In Russia, art is being destroyed by gangs of thugs because they don't like the ethnicity of the artist. I wonder what color shirt they were wearing. Apparently it's not far to go from international socialism to National Socialism.

Smoking gun?

The tiresome Jerome Corsi has announced the "smoking gun" in the Strickland non-scandal: the arrest records for Strickland's former campaign manager.

Yeah, so? Yed was either guilty of bleeding-heart liberalism for keeping him on, or of cowardice in not dealing with it forthrightly. And if either of those were an impediment to high office, well, this would be a far different country than it is.

Enough already.

Second Halloween

This morning, my wife referred to Election Day as "the second Halloween."

I laughed, and laughed. then I laughed some more. And the more I think about it, the funnier it gets.

Like the Celtic New Year, this is the time when the dead walk the earth. In some particularly Celtic places like Chicago, they even vote. Terrifying things happen as midnight approaches: major party candidates are elected. The opposing mobs of goblins attempt to make this even scarier, muttering dark phrases like "Speaker Pelosi". Deeds (voting) are done in secret, votes are counted in darkness. Like rumors about tampered candy, tales spread about Diebold machines stealing the election. But the elections were stolen by law long ago, so why does it matter? Candidate talk incessantly about the recently dead, and who will be dead if they are not elected.

And there's trick or treat for everyone. Politicians offer a treat but deliver the same old tricks. If taxpayers refuse to pay for the treats promised by the politicians. they get tricked out of their home and freedom. The treats destroy the health of the body politic, but nobody dares to offer anything healthy; that would either be too expensive or, if homemade, would be considered poisonous. Their chocolates bind up production; their caries-inducing candies inhibit our ability to feed ourselves. And the candidates go door-to-door, too, asking for votes. They have rules about how they can beg, just like municipal trick or treat rules.

Everyone is wearing a mask. Republicans disguise themselves as Thomas Jefferson, Democrats as the friend of the worker, Libertarians as Republicans. Greens wear their ghoul-green masks to hide their red complexion. We know the bigger kids can do more damage if crossed, but they're all just children, and none will act responsibly, though the innocent little Greenies and Libbies are at least teachable. The big kids have already TPed the neighborhood, and now there's no way to clean up the poo they've been flinging. In Detroit Waco, they'll even burn your house down.

And of course, the whole exercise is "for the children". The use of that phrase should be an impeachable offence.

What would happen if people decided that one Halloween was enough, and just stayed home? What if everyone's hopes for getting free candy for mindlessly repeating a slogan ("trick or treat!") were permanently dashed? What if we dropped something totally unexpected into the outstretched bag ballot box? What if Mickey Mouse got a majority of the vote? Why don't we celebrate Election Day like Guy Fawkes Day, but realizing that the treason is above the floor of Parliament instead of beneath it? In short, why don't we just grow up, and leave the games to the kids?

Eloi coming to your gene pool soon

Billy Beck has been expecting the advent of the Eloi for some time now. Now he has an evolutionary theorist in his corner.

From the article, it doesn't look much like science. If women get any choosier than they already are about mates, men will buy Morlocks as being better alternatives than sheep or liver. I just don't see the evolutionary bifurcation happening

Yes, Virginia, the bums do the smoking

Some anonymoose asked:

Do you have any proof or data that shows "smoking is habit associated with the poor"?

Good question. My evidence when I made the statement was anecdotal, based on a year or so doing industrial temp work in Cleveland. But anecdotal doesn't cut it, so let's see what we can find.

Smoking is associated with larger effects on income than drinking: Single equation estimates suggest smokers earn 8 percent less than nonsmokers, and the smoking penalty rises to 24 percent after correcting for endogeneity.
(p. 7-8 contain data on smoking rates in the UK associated with class, deprivation level and manual vs. non-manual trades)
(British Columbia teenagers)
(poorer parents more likely to have children who smoke)

The risk of adolescent smoking increased by 28% with each step down in parental education and increased by 30% for each step down in parental household income. These associations persisted after adjustment for age, sex, race/ethnicity, and adolescent disposable income. Parental smoking status was a mediator of these associations.

OK, this was just a couple minutes with; nothing that qualifies as real medical or sociological research.

And yes, Issue 18 IS a tax on losers, scarcely a "liberal" concept.

As for your link re price elasticity in tobacco, see this:

We find that the price sensitivity of conditional consumption, cigarettes smoked by smokers, shows no robust pattern with income and is frequently insignificant. Thus, our results challenge the conventional view that price sensitivity falls monotonically with income. Our predictions of the equity consequences of tax increases show that using all traditional measures of progressivity, whether based on tax expenditures or welfare, cigarette tax increases are not close to progressive.

This ignores the question of whether it's government's job to save the lives of those who deliberately kill themselves. If indeed it is (I vehemently disagree), shouldn't we simply ban smoking, instead of making ourselves morally complicit in it by taxing it? After all, it has worked so well with other drugs.

Modest proposals for a proposed island

The Army Corps of Engineers wants to build a 100-acre island off the coast of Cleveland, for about $100m. -- of which $25m needs to come from local government.

Given the current setup, with a river that has to be dredged and a society that's agreed it's government's job, well, the toxic sludge has to go somewhere. We'd might as well get some acrage for it.

But what to do with it? I think we should make it the seat of local government. In 40 years, when the island is done, our leaders will be complaining that their municipal buildings are old and inefficient. Having a huge moat around them will be good for Homeland Security. We can bring people in on little motorboats, carefully screened. We can even house workers there. After all, the desire to rule others is a disease, and an island can help enforce a quarantine. When we finally weary of local government, we can mount a naval blockade and starve them out. And think of the charm in saying "The mayor was voted off the island".

Alternatively, we can build it exactly between the US and Canada, and make it the new UN headquarters. No cars to generate tickets that diplomats don't pay, no nightlife, no fun.

The two-way wall

Taranto doesn't quite get it:

Second, although we are not a fan of the U.S. Mexico border wall, there is an essential difference between a wall to keep people in and a wall to keep people out. Prisons and houses are not the same thing, even though they too both have walls.

Au contraire, prisons are houses for prisoners, and houses can be made into prisons. The difference between houses and prisons is in who holds the keys. Given that it's the government that will hold the keys to the border wall, what is to stop some administration some time from deciding that Americans really need to stay here?

Rallying the troops to plunder the poor

I came to work to find a rally for Issue 18 (the proposal to rob the poor to pay for the art of the rich) happening on the front lawn of Severence Hall. Yeah, like that's really going to make me contribute to the orchestra. They had some guy on stilts almost falling into traffic. A woman waved her sign at me; I waved a finger back. Gee, I wish I still lived in town, just so I could vote no. Maybe I can cast Harry Quick's vote. :-)

"But this isn't a tax on poor people, it's a tax on smokers. And smokers can change their behavior." Well, so you say. I'm married to a smoker. She's tried to change her behavior several times since she's been with me, and failed...and she's a fairly competent person. And poverty largely comes from bad choices in life (including smoking)...which can be changed. So why don't the poor just change their behavior? Really, I don't see how one can be a socialist (as most artists are, philosophically) and support Issue 18 at the same time. It clearly focuses on a habit associated with the poor, and taxes it to benefit the well-off. It's not like we're going to have free concerts by major rappers in Cleveland. And we're not taxing, oh, any wine with a cork in the bottle. That would make way too much sense.

But in a further outrage:

Backers of Issue 18 filed a formal complaint on Tuesday with the Ohio Elections Commission against tobacco company Philip Morris USA and Lorain County resident Gerard Seman, registrant of the Web site

I've known Garry Seman for years, and he wouldn't take money from Big Tobacco. I'd certainly like to see the evidence they've invented. I guess it's just inconceivable that somebody would oppose their little shakedown on the basis of principle.

Well, guys: I'm writing this on a computer and server owned by a University Circle institution, who are not responsible for the content of this message. I am. Now, do you have the stones to go after a fellow practicing artist -- a composer and performer -- for campaigning against you?

Geauga and Holmes Counties have a problem:

They don't have enough food stamp users.

It's all the fault of those Amish. How dare they assume they can survive without government aid? Or raise their's for the chillldrennn, ya know? One in 5 qualifying families in Geauga is Amish, one in 3 in Holmes, and they aren't applying.

The guys on the ground in the local Department of Job and Family Services know the answer is "ain't gonna happen". But Jeanne Carroll,(Phone - (614) 466-4815) deputy director of the state's Office of Family Stability (as if a burrocrat could make families stable), claims that "we can't assume they don't want the benefits". After all, somewhere there may be an Amish hypocrite. So the state is going to spend more money so that they...can spend more money.

I invite Carroll (along with Agriculture Secretary Fred Dailey and his flunky Lee Ann Mizer) to go to the Hell of the Amish. I am certain the Amish would not agree with this sentiment, but I'm not Amish and can do what I want in that regard.

Blackwell piles on

...with the "soft on perverts" accusation.

Teddeth only have themselves to blame for this. If they'd allowed people with a real grasp of the issues -- like, oh, Bill Peirce -- to debate with them, they wouldn't be able to roll in the mud, because they'd only make themselves look bad by doing so. As it is, there's no yardstick present, people aren't allowed to see that there's a better way, so even "Jimmy Carter Jr." (Strickland) comes off looking good.

Janet Reno, "champion of justice"

From Balko, news that the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers gave Jackboot Janet an award and a standing O.

Janet Reno oversaw and is largely responsible for Waco. She sent armed thugs into the private home of a peaceful family. Janet Reno is responsible for Richad Jewel and Wen Ho Lee. This is the Janet Reno who as a prosecutor in Florida pursued a number of bogus "recovered memory" cases, and wrongly prosecuted at least one man for child sex abuse, then refused to admit her error, allowing the man to fester in prison for more than a decade.

I wanna barf.

Amicus meus

Amicus meus comes before "Judas mercator" (my last podcast) in the Responsoria cycle. Again, from the Mac concert.

AP plays partisan politics

Three web pages on the race for DeLay's old seat, with many mentions of "the hyphen lady" (Shelley Sekula-Gibbs), who is a write-in candidate.

The name conspicuous by its absence? Bob Smither, the other ballot-qualified candidate, who is polling at 25%.

So much for objective reporting.

Another national socialist

Cult of the supreme leader? check.
Belief in racial superiority, with killing of members of other races? check
Forced eugenics, euthanizing of the handicapped? check.
Militarism, desire for territorial expansion? check.

Adolf Hitler? Try Kim Jong-il.

And what was that about fascism being the opposite of communism?

Foleyating Strickland 2

World Net Daily is still at it.

Pullins insisted he doesn't "give a hoot about how the Stricklands live their private lives."

"But what I do find interesting," he said, "is the whisper campaign that has been going on behind the scenes for months and the efforts by liberals and some conservatives to shut down any discussion of the issue."

In other words, "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?"

Come on guys, show me the stained blue dress, and I will believe. Otherwise, you're only making yourselves look bad.

Food stamps in 4 hours

Orange County leads in providing "services" to illegals. And of course, as always, it's "for the chillllldrennnn"

"The Mexican man is macho. He doesn't want to come to this country and beg," said Alfonso Chavez, the Community Action Partnership's outreach coordinator. "I tell them this is a program that will help the children. The kids are American-born, and they have a right to this program."

So there's now a "right" to the fruit of somebody else's labor? Let's party like it's 1861!

RIP Tower

The ax discussed here has finally fallen:

On Oct. 6, a federal bankruptcy judge in Wilmington, Del., approved the sale of Tower to Los Angeles-based liquidator Great American Group for $134.3 million.

While no firm date has been set for the stores to close, "Going Out of Business" signs went up this week at Tower's 89 stores in 20 states and the chain's 3,000 employees have been told they will be laid off.

May I cry now?

The brass risk their ...

The assistant defense secretary for homeland defense has to go to war:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Paul McHale, a top civilian Pentagon official and a former congressman, has been recalled to active duty as a Marine reservist and will be sent to Afghanistan, The Associated Press has learned.

Well, he's been there and knows what it's about, so this is kind of a waste, when there are folks in Dee Cee more deserving of a Mideastern vacation. But it's a positive trend; let's not stop now.

Poster child for condom use

I'm waiting for the pro-lifers to start blogging about the differences between a father putting a hit on his unborn child, and a mother doing so. They aren't quite parellel, as one also involves injuring the mother. But a $1m bail is a bit excessive for "soliciting an abortion from an unlicensed professional".

Taxpayer-funded suburban farming?

Heroes of American capitalism are stiffing banks on government-guaranteed mortgages. I'd normally object to that, but given that the houses are being rented for commercial ventures that the government will not allow to operate in a normal way, it seems like fitting recompense somehow. As for the neighbors, they seem not to be bothered until after the bust, and then it's because nobody cuts the grass.

We don't need no steekin' penmanship!

We gots computers!

When handwritten essays were introduced on the SAT exams for the class of 2006, just 15 percent of the almost 1.5 million students wrote their answers in cursive. The rest? They printed. Block letters.

Schools don't care about it anymore, not when there are standardized tests to teach to, that don't cover it. And it's least it was for me.

But there's something liberating about being able to fluidly put your thoughts on paper without the mediation of several hundred dollars worth of delicate and difficult-to-repair equipment

Yee-ha! Universal indult!

Supposedly (though the document hasn't been published yet) the Pope has signed a universal indult, allowing any congregation to perform the Latin Tridentine Rite mass unless the local bishop has forbidden it in writing.

It's hard to figure out what this will ultimately mean. Maybe it's just an attempt to bring the Lefevrists back in. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's an admission that implementing the Novus Ordo was wrong, much as I'd like to. But it may be a recognition of where the "crowth industry" in liturgy is, at least in the US.

Cincy-area kids won't get their hides tanned?

Hamilton Co. has decided that they don't have the authority to ban teens from using tanning beds without a doctor's prescription. So they want the STATE to do it.

Funny, as a child I lived in the Goddess' tanning salon (the beach) and haven't had skin cancer yet. That may be the difference between artificial and natural. Or it might be that the epidemic of skin cancer that caused California to pass a similar law is caused by something else...malnutrition maybe?

RIP Keith Donat

I just heard via email that libertarian activist Keith Donat died yesterday in an accident at his place of employment, at the age of 32.

I didn't know Keith well. My most protracted contact came from a time when he, David Macko and I were all serving on State Central Committee, and we'd ride to Columbus together for meetings. He was one of those guys who had come into the LP from the Left, and Macko is a rightist, so trips were filled with loud heated discussions of matters such as abortion, where I could barely get a word in (even if there'd been space to think)...and I am not easy to silence. And there was Dave's contempt for Keith's nicotine addiction, and the stops it required. After awhile, I began to invent excuses to drive by myself.

It may look like you're in a 6 x 3 dungeon, Keith, but I'm convinced that you're free at last.

Bureau of Adults Teaching Filmmaking

I don't know what offends me more: that ex-BATF Director Carl J. Truscott ordered staffers to help his nephew with his high school homework, or that the homework was a documentary propaganda film about the BATF. Not that I have a problem with ATF frittering away funds that could be used to persecute gun owners, mind you. But it always seems like the well is bottomless.

Who is Jeanne Storm?!

CAIRie Nations of Minnesota

I didn't pay much attention to the Twin Cities Moslem taxi deal until this morning, when I read Daniel Pipes' article. Pipes is worried about the precedent of setting up what amounts to a dual transport system. I'm more concerned about cost-free discrimination. Of course, the cabbies always could discriminate, and did. (Anyone can. There is no way to force an individual to not discriminate; you can just make him jump through hoops to do so.) But the MAC has basically said that discrimination on the basis of religious practices is OK. Well, I'm waiting for the Christian Identity cabbie to hang a "No coloreds" sign in his window; after all, that's his religion. Somehow I doubt that will be given the same respect. But giving a green light (perhaps literally!) to discrimination can cut both ways, as those with booze (or even those who think a cabbie should shut up and drive instead of imposing his religion on others) can simply quit patronizing Muslim cabs. Apparently the deal is already dead in the water, as cab companies are afraid of losing business in a consumer boycott. But if their employees are already turning down fares, why are they still employees? If I refused to do my job, I wouldn't have it. Even if they're leasing their cabs, why isn't there a clause in the lease? After all, turning down fares reflects badly on Yellow Cab or whoever the driver is driving for.

It seems that a great deal of the problem could be dealt with by the duty-free stores, who are sending out their booze in transparent plastic bags, making it obvious which fares are carrying. They should switch to tasteful paper handle-bags, maybe solid royal blue with "Allah akbar" in gold Arabic script along the top. "I just bought some copies of the Koran," the fares could say. Alas, the cabbies would buy that for about 5 minutes. Better they should just get with the program and realize that in America, Allah has bigger problems to worry about than whether your customers break the minutiae of Islamic law.

Frank begs: take the ciggie out of your neighbor's mouth

Mayor Frank is coming out against the right of private property smoking in bars, and in favor of Issue 5.

I have to wonder how folks in the old 'hood view this, seeing as how smoking tends to correlate to poverty. I thought we'd fired Cleveland's nanny when we got rid of Queen Jane.

I'm just glad I don't work for the Cleveland Clinic. Those guys are going to get propagandized big time in the next month.

The naked civil servant

This is certainly odd behavior.

But tell me, if it was after hours and nobody but the all-seeing spycam saw him, what makes it "public indecency"?

Foleyating Strickland

Today's bit of poo-flinging comes from WorldNetDaily, citing Bizzyblog. Evidently Ted "'Fraid chicken" Strickland was one of only 13 congresscritters to vote "present" on a 1999 resolution condemming an APA paper supportive of pedophilia. His reason, as expressed in a one minute speech, was that the House was incompetent to critique the methodology of the study. That is certainly true, and a laudable point to make. But if Ted had refrained from voting on every law requiring technical knowledge he did not have, he would have amassed such a libertarian record that I would have no qualms about supporting him for governor. That's pretty obviously not the case; it's not how Congress works. And I also understand why Ted didn't make a principled stand and vote "NO".

The questions being debated are "Why did Ted vote that way?" and "What does it say about him?" Strickland's wife is a psychologist (I believe he is also), and he may have felt an impulse to protect the profession. And Ted is a former minister and a Christian man after the manner of Jimmy Carter. Whether you want somebody who is afraid of making judgements and is under his wife's thumb to run Ohio is a fair question; personally, I think we've had enough of that with Bob Taft.

But that's not where WND wants to take this. They're mostly spinning dirt that Brian Flannery had dug up for the primary. Ted had hired a staffer who had previously flashed some children. Either he didn't do a thorough background check, or decided it wasn't relevant to the job. And Ted went to Italy with this man...oh my, bunghole buddies for sure! Never mind that it was a trip that all the staffers were to make, but in the event only one could go. Was Ted to cancel? What if he'd gone with a woman-not-his-wife? It seems that the only way that trip couldn't be spun sexually is if he would have brought a child....uh, no, scratch that...

Then there's the "firestorm among Ohio bloggers", with only Bizzyblog being cited. BB is fairly reasonable about this; his points are that Foleygate and its accompanying Democratic hypocrisy make this fair game, and that Strickland has tried his best to not reveal any opinion or platform during this campaign, so that any information on his character is relevant. And the conclusions he draws are general character conclusions. He does not imply that Strickland is a pedophile. WND, on the other hand, wants to leave you with that impression without saying it.

This didn't stick when Flannery said it; it's not going to stick now. I really hate watching desperate politicians and their media shills. And I especially hate politicians which are so devoid of ideas and principles that the only way to discriminate between the fungible product is smear black over it. Play fair, or don't play at all.

Vote third-party -- ANY third-party -- or stay home. Screw them all!

Levy Co. FL libraries now drug (and volunteer) free

This is insane.
The retiree volunteers who make the library work are being told to pee in a cup if they want to volunteer. "Our public risk management insurance says we should treat volunteers no differently that any other employees," says the boss. But volunteers are not "employees"; they don't get paid, and have no reason to accept the unacceptable. 53 of 55 volunteers have given the county the Johnny Paycheck Farewell.

"We have a number of volunteers who are older, and I think about how my mother - who is 83 - would react to a test like this," Tollefson said. "She would find it degrading, be totally offended and find it an affront to her dignity. Many of our volunteers feel the same way."

Oh, those crotchety old folks! Did it occur to management that maybe their professional and paraprofessional employees feel the same way? I am 50 years old, and have never taken a drug test, and I don't intend to start now, even though the strongest drugs they'd find in my system are beer and coffee. Frankly, I hope the library has to close its doors or reduce hours over this. Then patrons will inform management how important it is to them that 75-year-old ladies aren't managing their Alzheimers with cannabis.

Thanks to Claire Files.

Winston Churchill's great-grandson...

...continues the fight against tyranny, and may pay the penultimate price. May the Gods bless this hero of Australian capitalism.

It's Jeanne Storm's fault!

Pravda Newyorkskaya, at the bottom of a whole raft of anti-gun letters (all of which conveniently ignore the fact that Nickel Mines school was chosen because they were Amish and wouldn't resist), prints this charmer of penetrating moral thought:

Somehow I feel responsible, as a member of the larger American society, for these deaths. It was my America that somehow contributed to the creation of this killer.

Why so many school killings? Has the general climate of approval of sexual stimulation, torture, dishonesty in government and business, the atmosphere of “anything goes” resulted in this horror?

There is not much I can do, but I have written the commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police expressing my sympathy with all who have suffered in Nickel Mines and sent a small check for him to distribute in any way he sees fit to alleviate the pain in his community.

Jeanne M. Storm
Chester, Vt., Oct. 3, 2006

I'm glad she took responsibility. It's certainly not MY America which is responsible for either the Amish or their slayer. MY America isn't responsible for "approval of sexual stimulation, torture, dishonesty in government and business, the atmosphere of “anything goes""; I've been fighting those things (well, maybe not sexual stimulation, though I prefer that to be private). Society has been so bizarre of late that it's hard to believe it's a natural devolutionary process, and conspiracy theories abound. But now we know the truth: it's all Jeanne Storm's fault!

It is the blessed St. Ayn (pbuh) who has shown us the way of spreading the news. In the tradition of "Who is John Galt?", whenever America's depravity overtakes her, we shall cry, "Who is Jeanne Storm anyway?" Many folk legends will grow around her; she'll be seen by some as more devious and powerful than Hillary Clinton. Only a few will guess that she is the woman who stopped the engine of the world.

Thanks to Taranto, who didn't take it nearly far enough.

Beck is back

...sort of: whole story here.

I was worried. His blog was dark for almost a week, and while the most likely explanation was shenegans with his server, anything was possible given some of Billy's stands and actions. I'm glad he's alive and free, and wish him the best of luck in finding a new host.

And now for something completely different

People have been accusing "Bush and the Neocons" (sounds like a rock group that way, eh?) of trying to immanentize the Eschaton by fomenting Armaggeddon in the Middle East. Now evangelist K. A. Paul is blaming Bush for delaying the Second Coming, claiming that US foreign policy has hindered the activities of Christian missionaries in Iraq, Iran, and Syria. Silly boy, doesn't he know that if we kill enough Muslims, the rest will be scared enough to convert? If we had control over those governments, we could even use Islamic-style a dhimmi for Mohammed today... Doggone it, if Jesus doesn't get here soon, we'll have to fight a revolution just to say the word "Christmas".

Funny how the typical Amishman is a better witness for Christ than the guys riding in private jets.

Peirce campaign disses League of Women Voters

They caught one of Blackwell's toadies on video claiming that it is "federal law" that debate participants have at least 15% poll support. They were quite right to nail that; it has only applied to Presidential debates, it is not "law", and it shows that Blackwell supporters have not-a-clue about that thing called Federalism (i.e., Ohio has the right and power to run its state elections as it sees fit, even including charging a poll tax to vote for governor). But, contrary to the panel in the youtube show, it has been many years since the League of Women Voters ran the Presidential debates, as the LWV would not rig their debates in the Duopoly's favor, and the Duopoly would not play otherwise (somewhat like the current situation in Ohio). The 15% rule is the creation of the Bipartisan Debate Commission, which took over from the LWV. "Bipartisan" of course is not "nonpartisan". All it would take to change the 15% rule would be for a Duopoly candidate to refuse to play by it. This will never happen.

It's too bad the Peirce video had that error in it. But it's understandable, and not nearly as horrible as this little Blackwelloid stunt:

On a side note that’s just funny, while we were driving down to Cinci from Cleveland, we happened to get passed by one of Blackwell’s SUVs carrying what looked like his campaign manager. We paced them for long enough for me to lean towards the window and flap my arms like a chicken. The next thing I know, they actually were stupid enough to pull behind us and turn on the flashing blue lights (who knew the Secretary of State had such perks?). Of course, they quickly turned them off and sped past us while glaring out their windows. I think the multiple Peirce stickers might have been a clue that abuse of power would have been a really stupid idea.

What would the bust be for? Terrorism? Dangerous driving? Playing chicken on a freeway?

Judas mercator pessimus

The Friday Podcast is a bit from the Mac concert...a sick little bit of modal disco for the "commercial apostle."

Riot at Columbia University

"I don't feel like we need to apologize or anything. It was fundamentally a part of free speech. ... The Minutemen are not a legitimate part of the debate on immigration."

Hmmm, and the "n-word" and other racial epithets, and driving an invited speaker off the stage are legitimate parts? Apparently debate is only legitimate when it's one-sided, as it was in the days of Stalin and Mao.

Check out the picture, and the slogans ; these guys made their ideological allegiance pretty clear.

"You can't execute my client, because we'll riot!"

So says Ramsay Clark, for Saddam. Extortion (which is generally illegal) seems like a rather novel legal argument. The threat of violence if a verdict went a certain way has been discussed before, concerning various American trials, but I don't recall it ever being mentioned by the defence attorney. At least he didn't say that in the courtroom, though that would have been something to see. Perhaps Clark is really a legal genius, setting up an appeal for Saddam on the grounds that his counsel was incompetent.

Those inclined to riot over Hussein getting the Eternal Sand Nap already think this is a kangaroo court; having a kangaroo court made up of gutless wonders is not going to pacify Iraq. I suppose that, rather than sentence him, the Iraqis can just quietly put a bullet through his head and blame a rogue American soldier. Why not? They hate us anyway.

Senator Quisling (R-PA)

Mano Singham digs up a particularly damning fact:

Some of the legislators who voted in favor of the torture bill did so even though they thought it was bad legislation, presumably because they thought that the Supreme Court would rule it unconstitutional and thus no lasting harm would be done.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), who voted for the bill even after his amendment to preserve certain rights for detainees was defeated, called the proposal "patently unconstitutional on its face."

This is not just "craven behavior and buck passing". It is evidence of perjury, which is grounds for impeachment (at least it was 7 years ago). This text might sound vaguely familiar to Specter:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

If Specter voted for a bill, knowing that it was "patently unconstitutional on its face", then he clearly did not "support and defend the Constitution" or bear "true faith and allegiance" to it. While not meeting the Constitutional standard for treason, it shows clear contempt for our system of government and the American people. And this is the man Bush supported over his primary challenger, so he also bears a measure of guilt. This same way of (not) thinking brought us McCain-Feingold, which is also "patently unconstitutional" (the Supreme Court be damned).

Prices too low? Have a coup!

"Progressives" in their war against Wal-Mart have missed out on an effective technique: infiltrate the military, have it take over the country, and then force Wal-mart to raise its prices by threatening to jail top executives.

It worked in Thailand, anyway.

Blackwell plays the race card

This is just bizarre:

Holding his hand almost in Strickland's face, Blackwell said: "Take a look at the color of my skin. There would be very few people of this color if the instinct of the slave that was brutally attacked, the slave woman, was to kill the baby."

Is he saying that black slave women were prone to infanticide? That's not necessarily racist; in that situation I might kill my kids as an act of mercy. But it sure sounds funny.

I suspect that seldom happened, because the slaveowners (who had a vested financial interest in the survival of that baby) would make life rough (and maybe even short) for the slave who wouldn't breed. Sort of like what Blackwell would do to modern citizens slaves who want to kill their fetuses babies.

Chicken Little, the sky ALREADY fell

Mano Singham, my colleague "on the other side of the aisle", writes today about the Military Commissions Act. I can't disagree with him; it appears to be pretty appalling stuff. He overworks the torture angle (Abu Ghraib? There are frat houses that put their pledges through more.), but under the law, we won't KNOW what the government is using, will we?

But this is what got me going:

Last Thursday saw the day when the US as a nation formally decided that it no longer accepted the basic human rights that have been the foundation of its civil society since the time it adopted the Bill of Rights. In particular, the nation went on record as declaring that habeas corpus was expendable and torture was acceptable.

THE day? You just got your line in the sand crossed, Mano? Will you be emigrating, or will you be joining a militia? Please pick one.

The sainted Abraham Lincoln (another Republican; doesn't that make you smile?) suspended habeas corpus and freedom of the press, and rigged the Maryland elections. The 10th Amendment died around then too, if it was not mortally wounded earlier. We allegedly settled the issue of whether an individual has self-ownership and the right to the fruiits of his labor then, too, but that didn't stop the income tax or the draft. The first gun control laws come from then, too, designed to keep firearms out of the hands of newly-freed slaves, so there went the 2nd Amendment (to be mortally wounded in 1934 and killed in '68). That's just the score from "the man who saved the Union" (Sic semper tyrannis!). Since then, we've abused private property, the right of privacy (If you want to hide something, put it in a uterus; the cervix is the only sacrosanct barrier left.), the right to travel, created the War on Some Drugs, destroyed the jury system with voir dire...

Basic human rights and the Bill of Rights have been dead for some time, Mano. How is this law different from all other laws?

But I must congreatulate you for seeing through Shagrod Brown and Ted "half-a-debate" Strikeland. Will you be voting for Fitrakis, or Peirce?

Open season on the Constitution begins today

Because of the holiday, the holiest on the Jewish calendar, the court session was brief. The court swore in new lawyers and issued an 86-page list made up almost entirely of cases the justices declined to consider.

Like whether a Texas law making it a crime to promote sex toys shaped like sexual organs is unconstitutional, or a challenge to McCain-Feingold.

"Vote like a good little republican and the supreme court will protect your rights". Yeah, right.

NSDAP wins council seat in Charleston SC

OK, Larry Shirley is not a Nazi. He just sounds like one.

"What we've got is a failure in society, whether it's in Mount Pleasant with yuppie parents or whether it's on the East Side with poor crackhead parents," Shirley said Friday. "We pick up stray animals and spay them. These mothers need to be spayed if they can't take care of theirs. ... Once they have a child and it's running the streets, to let them continue to have children is totally unacceptable." Deadbeat dads might ought to be sterilized as well, he said.

My wife and I joke about getting her son drunk and doing a home vasectomy on him. But it's a JOKE. And it would be penance, not public policy. Besides, sterilizing Mom 15 years later when the kid's a hoodlum is kind of like locking the barn after the horse gets out. Why should government get involved with eugenics when Nature would do a fine job, if government only got out of the way?

Mohammed shakes his head

"No depiction of the prophet, even if it is positive, should be made ever - and certainly not one as ridiculous as the bobblehead Muhammed," said Zvi Ben-Dor Benite, an assistant professor at New York University. "I don't think it's about freedom of speech. This is the freedom to insult, which he shouldn't be doing."

Freedom to insult IS the freedom of speech. If everything we said was undisturbing to anyone, nobody would need to worry about "free speech".

This weekend I read Boston T. Party's Molon Labe, and in a "Playboy interview" with the novel's protagonist, Wyoming governor James Preston, Boston (through Preston) draws an interesting contrast between religious fundamentalists (specifically Christian, but this applies to Muslims too) and libertarians. Both groups have trouble separating the impolite, the immoral, and the criminal. Fundies believe that all immorality and most impoliteness should be governed by law, while libertarians believe that only the criminal should have any form of social control at all, that only acts of force or fraud are immoral. Taken to the extreme, one side would save hand-shaking for marriage, while the other would be in favor of sexual intercourse in the streets. Boston sees that there are things worthy of social opprobrium which nevertheless are not crimes and should not be a matter for State intervention.

Bobblehead Mohammed may be one of these things. It's impolite to mock somebody else's prophet, though I see no rational way that any infidel should be bound by the ban on depicting Mohammed. On the other hand, it can be seen as a form of social opprobrium itself. There isn't a big market for bobblehead Lao Tzu, Buddha, Confucius, Moses, Joseph Smith or even L. Ron Hubbard (worthy of bobbledom as he might be). People buy bobbledhead Mohammed because it pisses Muslims off. It's one of the few ways that the man in the street can tell the Muslim world that the behavior of (some) Muslims is not acceptable. The message may not be finely tuned; a spring-loaded Mohammed that flies into pieces when you touch it would be much more apropos. But the message is heard, as surely as somebody asking a punk with subwoofers and rap music to turn it down. And the response is similar: a big "F--- you!" Now, one might argue that there are Muslims being offended who do not bear any responsibility for the actions being protested. But I say that to expect an infidel to obey a game rule of Islam because everyone must obey the game rules of Islam is a bobbleheadable offence. In other words, if you're offended by a depiction of Mohammed, you deserve to be offended.

So where does one draw the line? If you put a bobblehead Mohammed on your dashboard, you're engaging in free speech and sending a message. If you give one to your Arab taxi driver, you're being rude. And if you do it while singing an Islamic version of Plastic Jesus, hell, I might stone you myself.

UPDATE: there's a picture here for the morbidly curious.

Or Foley could move to California.

Says my wife, "Anyone proposing a law on sexual predators should be given an instant FBI background check and put under surveillance for 7 months." Sort of a more humane Locrian law.

This would include the authors of California's Proposition 83, which

would give California some of the nation's strictest laws governing sex offenders, increasing prison and parole terms for many crimes. Its most controversial provision would bar released offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park and permit local governments to make other locations, such as libraries or public swimming pools, off limits.

The initiative also would require released sex offenders to wear an electronic tracking device for life, regardless of their crime or level of dangerousness.

Convicted daughter-molester and activist Jake Goldenflame claims that the law would make sex offenders homeless, and wants the state to establish a sort of psychosexual leper colony for them. He's got a point, particularly since, as written, prior offenders aren't grandfathered out. There are some real constitutional issues with this. And won't this lead to the exportation of perversion from California? Not that that would be anything new...

But I laughed out loud at this:

The law's chief sponsor, Republican state Sen. George Runner, ...said ..."We don't think government can go in and kick someone out of his house."

Tell it to Suzette Kelo, George.

Royce City TX is being sued for a million dollars because they didn't teach Spanish to their police officer, who then allegedly used excessive force.

The plaintiff in the suit said he had been coming to the U.S. to work for 23 years but did not understand what the officer meant when he repeatedly said, "Down! Down! Down!"

You know, it's pretty obvious that Hispanics are our moral superiors. So I suggest we harmonize our resident alien laws with those of Mexico, and then enforce them. Then it will be fair for everyone, si?

Another DC hypocrite goes home

Mark Foley is headed back to "the wang of America"

At a White House Rose Garden ceremony on July 27, President Bush hailed Foley and some other House and Senate lawmakers as members of a "SWAT team for kids."

Swat team? Didn't know he was into BDSM.

The sanctimonious little perv urged Jeb Bush to persecute nudists, wanted to seize steal johns' cars, proposed opening FBI databases to the Boy Scouts, and made 'frequent appearances on cable talk shows, where he described sex offenders as "animals" who will persist "unless stopped."' I guess he would know.

Like he said, "it's more sad than anything else, to see someone with such potential throw it all down the drain because of a sexual addiction." Only he said that about Clinton.