Archives for the Month of March 2007 on Jeffrey Quick's Blog

Guns and drugs and Mexico, oh my!

I wanted to blog this yesterday, but was way too busy and sleepy. But I was coming home with my wife from the tax man, and Rollye James was on (I hadn't heard her before; she's good) talking about it.

So...the Attorney General of Mexico, Eduardo Medina Mora (who seems to think he's Elliot Spitzer or somebody) is demanding that we block guns and drug money from coming into Mexico. James' succinct point was that it's Mexico's job to police Mexico's borders, not ours, and if we really wanted to stop the drug cartels, we'd legalize drugs. All dead on.

Mexico can stop the gun flow. They have no problem issuing long jail terms to some hapless Yanqui who got caught with so much as one loose .22 cartridge in his truck, so why not real gun runners? Well, because it's an economic problem: arresting the gringo brings money; not arresting the drug lords brings bribe money. But more to the point, just as guns (pace Sarah Brady) don't jump out of their holsters or gun cases and fire themselves, guns also don't put on wet suits and swim the Rio Grande.The problem is not guns crossing the border; it's people carrying guns across the border. Now, if Mr. Medina Mora is suggesting that we should stop the flow of people across the border, well, yes, we can do that. But it's quite opposite to the policy that the Mexicans have been advocating. The proposition we're being asked to buy is this: smuggling people=good, smuggling guns and drugs=bad.

So how come we Americans are moral defectives because we like to use drugs, and the Mexicans are not moral defectives for not being able to maintain a clean and just law enforcement system? And does that have anything to do with a country which has abundant natural resources, a warm climate, and hard-working people having to rely on foreign remittances to keep its economy afloat? There are former parts of Mexico that are leading world economies all by themselves. And if Aztlan is ever created, we'll be able to test the proposition that it's a problem of misrule. Not that we haven't already tested the proposition a thousand times.

Bob Barr to lobby for Marijuana Policy Project

Most commenters on this site are dubious and unimpressed with Bob "Barr Amendment" Barr's new job, one going so far as to snark, "Ahh, yes...the Libertarian Party - The Party of Principle!", conveniently forgetting that Barr wasn't a Libertarian in 1998.

Is he one now?

This is a move in the right direction. I'm still skeptical about Barr's Road-to-Damascus conversion, but if indeed he really gets it, he could be a powerful champion of liberty. I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt.

A Goreocracy for Ohio?

INTRODUCED

SB 128 CLIMATE COMMISSION (Miller, D.) — To create the Ohio Climate Commission for the purpose of studying the probable impacts that global climate change will have on the state of Ohio and for the purpose of recommending appropriate state responses to address global climate change and problems likely to be associated with it.

The Ohio Dept. of Agriculture does a pretty good job. I'm sure they can advise Appalachian farms on orange growing.

Bring civility back to politics,

"Ann Coulter" and "Bill Maher" agree. why?

The next time Bill goes riffing off a Condi Rice assassination ad lib, let his studio audience of flag-burning West Hollywood homos bark and whoop and clap like a mindless pack of trained Maoist circus seals. Because if you succeed in driving him off the air again, I stand to lose three chapters in my forthcoming best seller, "The Christ Haters."

...an outrageous laugh, and a friendly reminder, to anyone tempted to take the Commentariat seriously, that it's really all about the Benjamins.

Thanks to Mr. Beck.

Tonight, 7:30, Harkness Chapel, English consort anthems

Tonight is Nathaniel Wood's lecture-recital on English consort anthems in the Chapel Royal of Charles I. The recital part is a performance of 6 consort anthems, newly-edited with missing bass parts restored. One will be done with voices alone, the others with cornetts and sackbuts, by the Case Collegium, with a few ringers from Oberlin.

- John Bull : How joyfull
- Jeffrey : My love is crucified
- William Cranforth : My sinfull soul araugn'd of wofull guilte
- Martin Peerson : Oh Lord, in thee is all my trust
- Thomas Ravenscroft : In thee o Lord have I put my trust
- Thomas Ford : Let us with loud and cheerful voice

We put in some good work this weekend, and if I don't fall asleep while playing, it should be a wonderful-sounding show.

Brookville FL: you VILL pay ze parking ticket!

In this friendly little town, if you don't pay your $5 parking ticket, they can foreclose on your home!

Why don't they just make nonpayment a capital offence and be done with it?

Fine whines over abstinence ed

Linda Harvey has a cow over Ted Strickland wanting to cut the half-mill the state spends as matching funds for Title V sexual-abstinence programs, equating his words to advocacy of every type of perversion imaginable.

Give me a break! We're not talking about changing Ohio educational policy here. We're talking about not spending stolen money in order to get more stolen money. And in the current bugetary climate, it's the right thing to do.

It's pretty well known that the surest way to avoid STDs and pregnancy is not to have intercourse. You can transmit that message in about 10 minutes, including several rounds of later classroom reinforcements. You don't need long rounds of brainwashing abstinence training. I learned it in one class period in the mid-60s, without Federal funds. The girls in class learned it even better than I did, which is the only reason I left high school a virgin. But abstinence programs aren't about teaching the simple biological facts about promiscuity; they're about teaching morals, and are thus at best treading on parental ground, and at worst a violation of Church and State.

And the State sends a mixed message here. Kids go to school and learn that sex is bad because you can get knocked up. Then they look at their friends who have gotten pregnant and getting money from the government for themselves and their children. As the saying goes, "Money talks, and BS walks." And as economists say, you get what you subsidize. Sure, premature pregnancy will screw up your career and marriage plans, and life in general. But that's future stuff, and teens generally have short time-preferences. What would they do if they saw their buds worrying about how to feed their babies, or how to pay a doctor bill, or watching those babies die? I suspect it would have more effect than any abstinence program yet proposed.

Taking the (tap) waters

You "take the waters" for your health, right? That's what mineral water bath spas are supposed to be about, right?

Here's government health care at Saratoga Springs.

If it were a private company doing this, they'd be closed down STAT. I bet that Xanterra will take the rap on this, even though it was obviously done with the knowledge of park officials.

Oh, no! Usury!

And speaking of Cuyahoga losers, a few went to Dee Cee to complain about lenders:

Witnesses at the hearing also described how high-interest, short-term loans from "payday lenders" suck low-income workers into a perpetual state of debt. David Rothstein of Policy Matters Ohio, a Cleveland-based research institute, told the committee that Ohio has more payday lending locations than McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's restaurants combined.

Look, anyone stupid enough to borrow money at those places deserves to be put out of their home. That they have any good reason to exist at all is largely due to area banks, whose policies exclude the poor. When National City charges a non-account holder 10% to cash a check drawn on National City, the cash shops look pretty good. But there are way too many people geared to instant gratification, and folks like Rokakis are determined to deny them their education, simply because people with a longer-range view who have provided their own security are less likely to put them in power. And what would be worse for the city: overpriced capital, or no capital available at all?

Cuyahoga: 6th biggest loser

Cuyahoga Co. has achieved a dubious distinction: 6th largest population loss in the country since the 2000 census. The only bigger loser that wasn't involved with Hurricane Katrina was Michigan's Wayne County, which contains Detroit, a city whose raison d'etre anymore appears to be to make Cleveland look good.

I'm one of those Cuyahoga escapees. I mostly bailed for love (and I've sometimes wondered, on that morning commute, just how much I love). But I left a town that is overgoverned and under-serviced. We don't have downtown Republicans endorsing cigarette taxes for the arts. If our county commissioners tried to strongarm a gun show out of existence, they'd probably get their own private gun show. Windham Village constantly turns down an income tax to support the admittedly overextended police, perhaps because they've seen what happens when cops have time on their hands. And our roads are better-maintained. It's not perfect: our schools suck too, and we have a county bus system that is twice as mismanaged as RTA. And we have crime. But we don't have a city government micromanaging us or sucking our sustenance for their pet projects.

If the city gave me 5 acres of brownfields to transport Black Water to, and exemption from zoning and property tax, I'd consider coming back. For better or worse, this is where it's at for me professionally. But that isn't going to happen, because I can't dangle "28,000 jobs" in front of anyone. Cleveland gives away the town to developers, then mistreats Joe Sixpack. And then they wonder why Mr. Sixpack leaves.

Miller Rod and Gun bends over for Bloomberg

A Youngstown gun shop has chosen not to fight NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg's attempt to drive gun retailers out of business. (Yes, I know, that's not what he says it is, that it's all about straw purchases, but even the members of his coalition of mayors are starting to realize that he's going too far.)

I understand that the guy doesn't have $50K to fight der Führer Brooklyns. Yet it's really not appealing to do business with somebody lacking the spine to resist. The ideal situation, one that fans the flames of resistance while funding the means to do so, is a program like that of Bob Moates Sport Shop: the Bloomberg Gun GiveAway.

Yes, straw purchases are illegal, and bad. But there is basically no way for retailers to stop them, unless they hear the prohibited buyer saying, "Honey, buy this gun for me." Even Sarah Brady has been accused of making a straw purchase.

Meanwhile, these are the Ohio members of Bloomberg's Conpiracy Against the Constitution. You might want to drop them a line:
Thomas O'Grady, North Olmsted
Frank Jackson, Cleveland
Lydia Reid, Mansfield
Donald Plusquellic, Akron
Jay Williams, Youngstown
Michael Coleman, Columbus
Rhine McLin, Dayton

Strickland calls ODA dogs off Schmitmeyer

GREENVILLE, Ohio (AP) — Gov. Ted Strickland ordered the state Department of Agriculture to stop its effort to prevent a western Ohio dairy farm from supplying raw milk to shareholders.

Strickland told the department to drop its appeal of a judge's ruling that overturned the state's decision to revoke farmer Carol Schmitmeyer's milk-producing license.

Yee-HA!

In related news, Good News, our local advertisement paper, last week printed an ad soliciting sale of raw milk. I was surprised it made it into print, and would be even more surprised if anyone answered the ad. I mean, would you respond to an ad saying "Looking for marijuana farmer to buy fresh homegrown from"?

Hart Crane and Garrettsville

Hiram College is having a big symposium on Hart Crane, March 21 and 22, and I learned that Crane was born in Garrettsville, the town next to my township (in fact, we have a G-ville phone number). I'm not a big fan of Crane's work, but if Cleveland wants to steal his glory, well, G-ville has a much better case.

Hiram also has a minor Mormon shrine, the John Johnson farm, where Joseph Smith had 16 revelations, and was taken from his bed for a tar-and-feathering in 1832.

See, we gots culture here.

Jeff 'n' Rusty's auction adventure

Since it was a University Holiday, on a Friday (usually Stephen's day off, so hard to arrange off), we thought we'd go to the Rogers auction and flea market to try to rebuiild our flock. There were several problems with this. One was that it was snowing badly enough that people were running off the roads. I misread the map, which put us on Hwy. 7 instead of 11, so it was a slow 2-lane trip. And we left at 2, figuring that we'd take in the flea market. Rogers in the summer is quite impressive; you could walk all day and not see everything. Rogers in the winter is not that, and such venders as there were had already started to pack up. We had considered bringing Sara, our granddaughter, but we didn't want to wait for her to get out of school, and as it turned out, there was no room in the car once we got the chicken cage in. We might have taken the pickup, but it's traction on snow is dicey at best, and its shocks are dead enough that it bounces all around; making a hour-each-way trip, loaded, in snow didn't seem like something I wanted to try.

We killed enough time and went in to the auction. I hadn't seen anything too impressive, but things started coming in last-minute. There were some fencing materials outside that Rusty had her eye on; she bought 15 6 ft heady steel fence posts for $20. After going through apples, chicken waterers for too much, pigeons, pheasants and bantams, we got to the heavy hens, and there were some barred rocks that looked good. fortunately, they were sold "choice" instead of, as usual "bid by piece, buy by coop". Rusty kept on whispering "stop" as the bidding got perilously close to "meat value", but I won at $7.50 and took all 5 Barred Rocks. There was later another coop of 2 BRs that we didn't bid on, and we didn't take any of the New Hampshires. Nothing against them, though they can be a little volatile, but we want to bunk these in with the "old girls" and be able to tell them apart, and those NHs looked a little spent. we stuck around for the little 4-leggeds. A bunch of Jersey bull calves went for $13, goats in the $30-50 range.

The adventure came when we went to load the car. The only way the fence posts would fit is if part of the back seat folded down so they would extend though the trunk. This meant taking down the cage and reassembling it to cover the posts and folded down seat. All this was complicated by the presence of a child's wagon in the trunk, which Rusty had insisted on bringing to transport the cage (which would only fit through the door disassembled anyway). Then there was this teenage girl who had gotten the other coop of Barred Rocks and wanted one of ours, and was willing to trade her one plus $8 for that particular one. As Mr. Beck reminds us, values are personal, individual, and her love of Ms. Perfect Hen equaled my love of cheap chickens, so the swap was made.

As we got to the southern 'burbs of Youngstown, it was 8, and we were hungry, so we hit Bob Evans, with me in my bibs and chore boots. Rusty did her usual trip to the young man who was seating, "Two...smoking please". He twitched, I burst out laughing, and when he took us to our table, I said, "They're so cute when they twitch," which had Rusty rolling on the floor.

chores were done and we were in bed by 10:30. The new girls are in quarantine in the little barn; besides, we want to see how they lay. There's still soup weather...

New Mexico House does science

Seven months after a conclave of scientists downgraded the distant heavenly body to a "dwarf planet," a state representative in New Mexico aims to give the snubbed world back some of its respect. State lawmakers will vote Tuesday on a bill that proposes "as Pluto passes overhead through New Mexico's excellent night skies, it be declared a planet."

The resolution, House Joint Memorial 54, was introduced by Rep. Joni Marie Gutierrez (D-Dona Ana County). It reiterates the importance of astronomy to the state of New Mexico and calls for March 13 to be "Pluto Planet Day."

And the Indiana House of 1897 voted to make pi equal to 3. That didn't make it so.

Update on the chicken massacre

It turned out that the black Lab was microchipped, and the pound called the breeder, who called the owner who, living across our side street was calling the Trumbull Co. animal officer, looking for his lost dog. He's getting it back, after paying $300 in fines and paying for our chickens, which Rusty valued at $400. I'd sent her on a difficult mission last night, and she said, "You owe me", so I guess her payback was to tell him to call me tonight. He was glad that we didn't shoot his dog...something that won't happen if there's a next time.

Mayor Frank throws tantrum over state gun law

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson is suing in Cuyahoga Co. Common Pleas Court for the right to violate the constitutional rights of Clevelanders, and will continue to enforce laws that are no longer law. Apparently we're the only city in the state with gangs running amok with Evil Black Rifles, and something MUST be done.

To his credit, our new Democratic AG, Marc Dann, is not impressed.

Give it up, Frank. The city has more pressing needs.

Congress is horsing around

I have a few questions about proposed legislation to ban slaughter of horses for human consumption:

1. How is this different from Saudi law on selling pork? Aren't both fundamentally religious taboos? Isn't this an example of Congress establishing early Celtic paganism as a national religion? Isn't that why I can't BUY horsemeat?

2. Why are they arguing that this will cut down on horse theft when horses will supposedly all be chipped through NAIS?

3. Isn't this a tax on the Amish? What are they supposed to do with old horses?

4. Doesn't Steve LaTourette, one of the bill's sponsors, represent a district with many Amish? Has he ever eaten horseburger so that he could say with authority that hamburger is better?

5. Steve LaTourette doesn't think people should eat horses. Dennis Kucinich doesn't think people should eat hamburger. Why is LaTourette's opinion more valid and worthy to be made into law? Would it have something to do with horse eaters and horse owners being a minority? Or are both shilling for Big Ag?

6. Does Kucinich think that transport conditions for horses are worse than transport conditions for beef animals, or is he cynically working the issue to set a precedent for banning beef? If he is such an eco-ag guru as to have been interviewed by Acres USA, why is he trying to destroy draft animal farming?

7. Who cares what Hollywood stars think?

8. Why is John Boehner the only Ohio congresscritter to oppose this?

9. How many horse-lives will this bill save?

10. Whose horses are they, anyway? Why are we de-facto nationalizing horses.?

UPDATE: here's a good picture of life without horse slaughter, from Kentucky.

First the taxis, then the checkout line

Apparently, the Caliphate of Minneapolis is developing right on schedule:

I'm a reporter who covers Target for the Star Tribune and the other day, I got a call from someone who said that an employee at the Target store downtown refused to run his bacon through a scanning machine. He was mighty upset, arguing that the cashier had "no right to work as a cashier at Target" if she wasn't prepared to swipe his groceries.

But he was a little vague on the details, so I decided to check it out myself. At the Target store on E. Lake Street, a cashier wearing a hijab looked uncomfortable when I showed up at the cash register with a frozen pepperoni pizza. She immediately called for help, and another employee rang up the pizza and placed it in the basket.

I asked her if it was because she was Muslim, and she nodded her head. "I can't even touch it," she said.

If she was "touching pork", then there was something very unsanitary about the packaging. And maybe she should have been wearing gloves. I'm all for people honoring their religious taboos, on their own time. If I'd been in line and this had happened to me, I probably would have left my entire order at the checkout and walked out. This is not the way to treat customers.

The question is whether this is policy at that particular Target, or if it is corporate policy. Apparently Serres didn't speak to a manager, who could have clarified that question. And if anyone from Target management is reading this, they can also clarify it, in the comments. If it's a local issue, it can be handled locally. If it's national policy, well, customers know how to change corporate policy.

What I found most appalling were some of the blog comments. One compared the pork swipe to underage cashiers having to have alcohol swiped, claiming that is no inconvenience. Well, it certainly effing is, and I fume every time a cashier has to get somebody else to do her job. But that's a government mandate, not lazy management, and much as I'd like to boycott my government, they won't let me. And do the Target workers refuse to swipe beer as well? Of course, the same jerk accused those who objected of "racism"; I wasn't aware that Muslims were a race. And for those who claim that I'm a bigot: I don't care if you think pork is unclean. But then don't work where you have to sell pork. And don't expect me to spend my time to support your superstition. Your right to practice your religion ends at my face.

UPDATE here.


Retailers have accommodated other religious groups over the years. In the Twin Cities, these include those who don't want to sell lottery tickets or work on Saturdays, said Bernie Hesse, local organizer for United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 789. Supermarkets in particular have been good about recognizing their employees' religious observances, he said.

"If we ever get to the point of selling wine in grocery stores, I imagine some folks will be excused from doing that," Hesse said.

The difference here is one of scheduling, which has nothing much to do with the employee/customer interface.

Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for a person's religious practices if it doesn't impose an undue hardship.

What is reasonable, and what is an undue hardship?

A customer's personal preferences is usually not a factor in deciding whether a religious practice is protected in the workplace, noted Khadija Athman, national civil rights manager for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington.

In most cases, a cashier should be able to call over another cashier who can scan a product and the shopper shouldn't be inconvenienced, Athman noted.

I'll be the one who decides whether I'm inconvenienced, not CAIR. And if I have to wait for somebody else to scan something, or explain to some dolt that TURKEY bacon is not pork, I've been inconvenienced.

Target's statement:

"Providing guests with consistently fast checkouts is a key, fundamental part of our business and our guest service commitment. As always, we continue to explore reasonable solutions that consider the concerns of team members while ensuring that we maintain our ability to provide the highest level of guest service."
makes it pretty clear to me that they Don't Get It.

Tragedy on the farm

Rusty got home just before me, and I started dinner while she went out to do the chores. I saw a dark something on the back lawn and thought, "What's that? I'll have to check it out." Suddenly Rusty burst in. "Get your gun! There are 2 big dogs out there and they've killed about a dozen chickens!" There in the pen were the 2 criminals, looking serene and a little sorry. (Click here for popup ; WARNING: graphic content.) "If we shoot them, we'll have to bury them," she said. "Go call the animal warden." I got the sheriff's office, who put out a call for the animal guy. When I came back, Rusty had locked down the remaining chickens. Apparently they knocked one gate loose, and broke an inner gate. They couldn't make it into the coop, so anyone who was inside or got inside was safe. Outside was one mauled but ambulatory silkie, and 3 hens that looked like they would need to be put down. I gave Rusty my coat, went in for another. She suggested I do the chores. After I got the eggs from the carnage house, she suggested I bring her cigarettes. As I went to do that, I saw an Ameraucana walking on the road down to Mary Ann's. Its butt was chewed, but it was ambulatory, so I guided it home. "She put up a hell of a fight," Rusty said, "No, it knew to run like hell."

Around 8, as darkness fell, the dog warden came. He called the dogs, they came, he put 'em in the truck. Went out and took pictures of the dead. We counted 14 dead, (including our one White Rock rooster) and 2 injured. Rusty is filling out paperwork as I write. Per the warden, you can kill animals who are killing your stock, and the warden will pick up the bodies. I had thought that you could kill trespassing animals but had to pay for them; evidently that's just trespassing, not stock killing.

I set aside the eggs from the old girls (who were fine) to set...didn't want to set new girls because male silkies have been jumping around and I didn't want any half-bantam chicks.

"Atlas Shrugged" turns 50

Karen DeCoster notes that Ayn Rand's magnum opus was finished 50 years ago this month, and links to a piece in the Christian Science Monitor by Mark Skousen, to whom she is much too kind. Skousen's problem with Rand boils down to the fact that she wasn't a Christian. Well, duh! The anti-Marx had to be an atheist, because there is no room in reason for religion, and because Marxism is, at heart, a Christian heresy in which the State "helps" in the administration of charity so as to bring about Heaven on earth. There is no difference, on a theoretical level between Christian and Marxist economic ethics, though certainly their ethics of means are radically different. Skousen argues that a world filled with Rand's heroes would be an awful place. Given what the world of Cuffy Meigs, Wesley Mouch et al is, I'd like to give the Gulchers the opportunity; we can always have an altruist revolution later if one is really needed. Certainly Rand's personal life was not a particularly good advertisement for her philosophy, but then Karl Marx had a personal servant (paid for by Engels) until he died.

One particularly telling point that Skousen makes is that there are no children in Atlas Shrugged. That's not quite true; there's the child whose mother's face gets slapped after Galt's radio speech. But there are no children who are characters, and no characters who have children. Like Rand, her heroes have no time for that. But you have to wonder why, in a book which is pro-life in the largest sense, there is nobody who is fond enough of humanity to create another human being...not even Cheryl Taggart.

As literature, much has been made of Atlas' warts, and yes, they are there. But part of that is a matter of expectations. Atlas is not an English novel; it's a Russian novel written in English. There's panorama, sweep, ideas, and plot. It is not "a steamy soap opera", as Skousen would have it. If it were a romance novel there's be a lot more romance, more soft-porn, Vasaline-lens lovemaking. To complain that the sex is "mechanical" is to misunderstand its function. One might say that of Hank and Dagny's first encounter, which had been achingly led up to for pages by a direct comparison to the John Galt Line: you know the train will pull into the station, you just don't know when or how. It's a force of nature that brings them together; one might as well admonish opposite poles of a magnet for coming together too quickly. Rand's time dilation and handling of suspense here is masterful.

Love it or hate it, it was probably the single most influential piece of literature of the 20th century. If you haven't read it, you really need to, even (or especially) if you're absolutely sure you'll hate it.

UPDATE: The High Priestess of Objectivist bloggers, Diana Hsieh, hasn't the time to comment...but her readers certainly have.

Music history according to WorldNetDaily

While I agree with this guy's basic point -- that art subsides are bad -- this is a real howler, showing near-total ignorance of the biographies and music of the composers discussed.

However, FDR's artistic largess and legacy was artificial. Zero percent of these so-called "commissioned" works amounted to anything of lasting value, and few of them stand today or are even remembered. What does this say? When government, the State, monarchs or kings get into "supporting the arts," you usually get derivative or perverse art, miserable music, unremarkable sculpture, ugly architecture, uninspired poetry. This is why there have been no Michelangelos since Michelangelo, no J.S. Bachs or Handels since Bach and Handel, No Rembrandts, van Goghs or Wagners since Rembrandt, van Gogh and Wagner, and lamentably no Beethovens since that magnificent master put down his quill for the last time on his unfinished manuscript, the 10th Symphony, on a cold, stormy, rainy night on March 26, 1827.

Most WPA support was for performances rather than commissions, and I would submit that the only American music anyone really cares about came from the Roosevelt era. Using the same logic, one would conclude that all Soviet-era music was of no value, since it was all government-commissioned. Shostakovich, Kabalevsky, the later Prokofiev, Khachaturian...all trash. Not to mention that it was the Leipzig town council that hired Bach. Clearly there are many factors in the relationship between a composer and his patrons, some good and some bad. Describing Esterhazy's relationship to Haydn as "bureacratic" is patently unfair.

Sure, there have been no more Beethovens or Wagners. That's because there only could ever be one Beethoven or Wagner, one Bach or Handel. Today's equivalents are differnent. And if Mr. Washington wants to argue that "we haven't agreed on any equivalents today", I would ask, "How much of Graupner's or Telemann's sacred music do you know and love?", they being by contemporary evaluation greater composers than Bach.

If this is Joe Farah's idea of cultural analysis, maybe he'll hire me to do legal analysis.

Galileos of climate change?

In response to this:

Scientists threatened for 'climate denial'
By Tom Harper, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 12:24am GMT 11/03/2007


Scientists who questioned mankind's impact on climate change have received death threats and claim to have been shunned by the scientific community.


Scott Jordan, on the Yahoogroup Individual-Sovereignty, wrote:
It's bad enough that Global Warming has taken on the trappings and attitudes of a religion.

But did it have to be Islam?

With due respect to peaceful Muslims...science is no place for jihad. Any statement that requires the threat of force for persuasion is clearly not convincingly proven.

Award for best use of a viola bow

Yeah, I know, a seriously out-of-control educator is nothing to joke about, and this woman deserves anything coming to her. But she would use a viola bow as the instrument of assault.

Windows Media Player and stylistic analysis

This from a loyal reader, via email:

After making my comment on Ave Regina, I noticed
Windows Media Player has identified the first three
movements of your Divertimento as being from a album
containing Bartok's Divertimento #1. So now you can
say your music has been mistaken for Bartok's.

When I went to get more info about the "album" it
didn't give any, but from what did get shown, it's a
Deutsche Grammophon (I could see from the cover art),
and contains some Stravinsky as well--Dumbarton Oaks
Concerto and Pulcinella Suite). So you are in very
fine company indeed.

That makes me a bit uneasy, given that it was the first tip-off on the Joyce Hatto affair. Suffice it to say that, while some of my other works could be confused with Bartok (at least in an alternative universe where he had done ethnomusicological field work in the US), this isn't one of them.

DC gun ban lifted!

Oh, this is beautiful! A federal appeals court strikes down DCs handgun ban. It's a fairly narrow decision focused on possession of handguns within the home, in working order. But it's an individual-rights based decision that makes hash of DC's legal arguments. A few choice tidbits:

The District claims that the Second Amendment “protects private possession of weapons only in connection with performance of civic duties as part of a well-regulated citizens militia organized for the security of a free state.” Individuals may be able to enforce the Second Amendment right, but only if the law in question “will impair their participation in common defense and law enforcement when called to serve in the militia.” But because the District reads “a well regulated Militia” to signify only the organized militias of the founding era—institutions that the District implicitly argues are no longer in existence today—invocation of the Second Amendment right is conditioned upon service in a defunct institution. Tellingly, we think, the District did not suggest what sort of law, if any, would violate the Second Amendment today—in fact, at oral argument, appellees’ counsel asserted that it would be constitutional for the District to ban all firearms outright. In short, we take the District’s position to be that the Second Amendment is a dead letter. (13-14)
Every other provision of the Bill of Rights, excepting the Tenth, which speaks explicitly about the allocation of governmental power, protects rights enjoyed by citizens in their individual capacity. The Second Amendment would be an inexplicable aberration if it were not read to protect individual rights as well. (p.24)

Gotta love this, quoting DCs code against it:

Just as in the 1792 enactment, Congress defined the militia broadly, and, more explicitly than in its founding-era counterpart, Congress provided that a large portion of the militia would remain unorganized. The District has a similar structure for its own militia: “Every able-bodied male citizen resident within the District of Columbia, of the age of 18 years and under the age of 45 years, excepting . . . idiots, lunatics, common drunkards, vagabonds, paupers, and persons convicted of any infamous crime, shall be enrolled in the militia.” D.C. Code § 49-401.(p.33)
[Maybe they should have argued that most of DC's population is thus barred from participation in the militia! -JAQ]

Miller’s definition of the “Militia,” then, offers further support for the individual right interpretation of the Second Amendment. Attempting to draw a line between the ownership and use of “Arms” for private purposes and the ownership and use of “Arms” for militia purposes would have been an extremely silly exercise on the part of the First Congress if indeed the very survival of the militia depended on men who would bring their commonplace, private arms with them to muster. A ban on the use and ownership of weapons for private
purposes, if allowed, would undoubtedly have had a deleterious,if not catastrophic, effect on the readiness of the militia foraction. We do not see how one could believe that the First Congress, when crafting the Second Amendment, would have engaged in drawing such a foolish and impractical distinction,and we think the Miller Court recognized as much.(45)


D.C. Code § 7-2502.0218 prohibits the registration of a pistol not registered in the District by the applicant prior to 1976.19 The District contends that since it only bans one type of firearm, “residents still have access to hundreds more,” and thus its prohibition does not implicate the Second Amendment because it does not threaten total disarmament. We think that argument frivolous. It could be similarly contended that all firearms may be banned so long as sabers were permitted. Once it is determined—as we have done—that handguns are “Arms” referred to in the Second Amendment, it is not open to the District to ban them. See Kerner, 107 S.E. at 225 (“To exclude all pistols . . . is not a regulation, but a prohibition, of . . . ‘arms’ which the people are entitled to bear.”). Indeed, the pistol is the most preferred firearm in the nation to “keep” and use for protection of one’s home and family. See Gary Kleck & Marc Gertz, Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun, 86 J. CRIM. L. & CRIMINOLOGY 150, 182-83 (1995). And, as we have noted, the Second Amendment’s premise is that guns would be kept by citizens for self-protection (and hunting). (55-56)

First heads up to Beck, then to Claire Files.

Another nanny in Lakewood

Mike Skindell wants to save the kitties and the kiddies, so he wants us to pay 3¢ a gallon to add a bittering agent to antifreeze sold in Ohio. It's not enough that the containers are almost impossible to open, or that the stuff looks gross.

Kucinich busted by FEC

Y'all know that I don't much like The Kooch, but I really have to feel sorry for the guy. He's got to come up with $137K to reimburse the Feds for money he wasn't supposed to spend, because his campaign had already failed when he spent it. Now, granted, since he was spending stolen money to begin with, there's a limit to my sympathy. But it's been over two years since that election, and the FEC have only finished audits of TWO other candidates (minor ones at that). It seems to me almost impossible for a campaign to keep up with the arcana of Federal election law...which makes me wonder if the real intent of the law was to keep campaigns clean, or to discourage campaigns. I suspect the latter, since they started at the bottom of the list (Lieberman and Nader) instead of with Kerry.

Don't shop convenience stores in Summit Co.

...crazy people run into them under color of law and handcuff you.

I am soooo honored (NOT!) that my own county made Radley Balko's blog. He's right that this approach was totally unnecessary. The cops were afraid he had a gun; well, what convenience store owner DOESN'T? And wouldn't he be more likely to use it if a bunch of maniacs burst into his store? I don't patronize convenience stores, but gods only know when the local gendarmerie might get a burr up their butts about something and do likewise to me. Really, this SWAT team sounds like something out of "Team America: World Police".

Prince said her son, who has asthma, was soaking wet from being on the ground. She said she took him to a doctor the next day for breathing problems and she has been a bundle of nerves since.

``What if someone started shooting? I could have been killed,'' she said. ``I just think it (the raid) was poorly planned. What about the customers in the store? I wasn't doing anything wrong.''

Thornton said a letter will be sent to Prince apologizing for the fact that she was ``caught up'' in an unfortunate situation.

``We are going to try to explain it to her,'' Thornton said.

Cash does more than letters can
to justify SWAT's ways to Man.

"That's one small step for a man..."

...and one giant step backwards for womankind. NASA has bounced Lisa Nowak back to the Navy, not quite knowing what to do about hormone-crazed astronauts with criminal charges pending. I'm really unimpressed with those criminal charges myself, but they seem to be NASA's chief basis for booting her. At least I hope so; otherwise the spectre of unequal treatment arises. I grew up on Mercury and Gemini, watching all those "right stuff" guys. And in the early years of NASA, Nowak, Oefelein and Shipman would all have gotten the boot, for presenting the wrong image. And you can bet those steamy emails would never have surfaced. Anyway, this whole affair has been the biggest slam on the idea of female astronauts since Christa McAuliffe jokes. Maybe it's time now to recruit some lesbians and Test The Rec Room.

Scott Savage fights back

Scott Savage, the OSU Mansfield librarian accused of sexual harassment by his university for recommending a book that some gay faculty members did not agree with, has filed a defamation suit against 4 named professors and 10 unnamed to be discovered. It had to be rough, taking a year's unpaid leave of absence when you're the sole provider for 8 children. So I hope that justice is done.

Scooter's guilty; who cares?

OK, we have Ann the Outrageous weighing in on the Libby trial. And yes, it was a miscarriage of justice, a political trial, and I should be upset. But I'm not. Libby was convicted of the same "crime" as Martha Stewart: lying about a non-crime. But there was a difference: Martha was minding her own business, doing what Martha does: making money. Libby was involved in government, and this government in particular. We don't get too upset when somebody in an organized crime syndicate gets whacked in the course of doing business; we figure that if he didn't want to get whacked, he shouldn't have been involved in organized crime. The same applies to government (even if we sidestep the question of whether government is an organized crime syndicate). In the grand scheme of things, some guy with a name like an Ayn Rand villain having to do some time is about as important as Anna Nicole Smith. In a D.C. whose main urban-design problem is far too few lamp posts for the number of people who deserve them, what happened to Libby pales in comparison to the case of a Kathryn Johnson or Cory Maye, people who were minding their own business until the State came in and destroyed their lives. I feel bad for Libby's family, though.

Coulter's main point is that Republicans need to do unto others as they have been done by. If they don't (and it's arguable that they do and have; some would include Whitewater and the Clinton impeachment), the reason is that they still care about the country, not because they're gutless. Well, bring it on, I say. Let's have both parties brawling in the courts. Let's have President Rodham try Bush for war crimes, then the 'Pugs can impeach Hillary for campaign finance violations (assuming Peter Paul doesn't take a walk in Ft. Marcy Park first). You want partisanship, beotch, you can watch it bring the country to its knees. Then maybe people will get rid of both of the two evils.

Dr. Mike swings back

Mike Adams is on Townhall, trying to refute KSU's defense of Julio Pino. (In our last discussion of this, I had bowed to KSU's wishes in not associating them with the "Global War" site. By now, it's enough of a matter of public debate that the chances of one of those "cease and desist" letters coming here are slim and none...esp. since I'm on KSU's side here).

There's a little more information, but not nearly enough. And, even granting the truth of Adams' allegations, it's a bit like a witch hunt: "Let's fire all the communists jihadists!"

Diversity of viewpoint is what makes a campus great. All too often, that's honored in the breach. But if it's wrong that conservatives are made to feel unwelcome on many campuses, then it must be equally wrong to railroad a guy for having opinions that no sane human would hold. And certainly, there are people out there who consider my own opinions (or Dr. Mike's) insane. I understand that Prof. Adams is a Christian, and must note that his Master said "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." Or, more to the point, don't try to burn a witch when you've spilled gas on yourself.

Discussing Pino's jihadist connections is perfectly fine, as is discussing who his employer is, or his unprofessional treatment of the ROTC student. Demanding that Pino be fired is not fine. If Pino's employment does to your checkbook what Catherine MacKinnon's employment by my alma mater does to mine, that's just part of the intricate personnel mix at the University. It's your money; if you don't think they deserve it, then don't write the check. But lay off the harassing letters already.

Open letter to Rep. Kathleen Chandler

Dear Rep. Chandler,

It was nice of you to share your thoughts on the state of the state.

The 2nd paragraph of your letter presents a melange of contradictory ideas in a single long sentence: " If Ohio's economy is to ever fully recover we must focus on funding education appropriately, stop the over reliance on property tax, ensure college tuition is affordable for working families, and invest in making an environment friendly to small businesses and entrepreneurs." Or, to restate it in condensed form, "If Ohio's economy is to ever fully recover, we must spend more money." Now, where is that money to come from, but from small businesses and entrepreneurs who, thus having the expenses of government thrust upon them, will decide to go elsewhere? And if we do invest bribe such businesses to come, it will be to tax them in the future, when they will leave. Meanwhile, our current businesses will be paying for the bribe, and thus not investing in their own expansion and improvement.

And what is "appropriate" education funding? Personally, I think that public education should be financed by a per-head tax on all school-age children, equal to the statewide average cost of educating those children, with a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for private tuition or homeschooling materials. Clearly, you don't think that "property tax" is an appropriate way to fund education. There's a case to be made for that, since those who own no property still get to vote to tax those who do. However, it at least gives the voters of an area some say in how much they will fund education. I understand that you call yourself a Democrat, and thus apparently believe in democracy. Why would you remove choice from voters, just because some mobs constituencies are wealthier or more generous than others?

As for college tuition, it has been demonstrated that tuition rises with tuition subsidies; the more money we give people to attend college, the more college costs. This isn't surprising, given that students not paying their own way have little incentive to hold colleges accountable for costs. The same is true in the medical field, but then, you probably want to socialize that as well.

As for your comments on SB 117, they're clearly partisan, as this is a case for the courts to clarify. But if the 1978 act (or was it really 1878?) is "one of the strongest business rape consumer protection laws in the nation", might it also have something to do with Ohio's poor economy?

And then there are your "helpful" instructions on the "Earned" Income tax Credit. You are quite correct that "more than $100 million that rightfully belongs in the pockets of hardworking Ohio families ends up bottled up in Washington", though your figure is off by a factor of a million or so. If the EITC is our "most effective anti-poverty program", then why are most people getting it still on the dole? I've spent large portions of my life living and working with poor people, and not once have I ever heard anyone say, "I'm gonna get me a job or two and make a bunch of money so I can collect the EITC." Anyway, the money "rightfully" belongs to the people it was stolen from, not to the intended recipients; if we're going to use moral language, we should all agree on which moral principles we're acting on, and most Americans, if asked point-blank whether it's moral to take money from one by force to give to another, would say it is not. They only get confused by language like "government money", "taxation", and other misdirectors.

Lastly, I'd call your attention to a conspicuous omission in your newsletter: which Ohio laws do you intend to repeal during this session?

I thank you for taking the time to communicate, and hope that it was actually you writing the newsletter, rather than a staffer, as it was a much more productive use of your time than voting on bills.

Your constituent,

Jeffrey Quick

Ave regina coelorum

This is a piece I wrote for Andrew and Brenda Pongracz (and friends, in this case Heather Gullstrand, viola and Mark George, piano), former choristers at St. James Anglican Catholic. Andy is actually a percussionist, but I make him sing a little. Brenda has all kinds of high notes (I take her up to e''' here). This is a little unusual for me...it's a sort of chamber-ensemble take on the Eton Choirbook style.

California's drug legacy

Most of America's truly horrible ideas began in California, including this one, whose centennial we observe tomorrow:

On March 6, 1907, Gov. James Gillett signed amendments to the Pharmacy and Poison Act making it a crime to sell opiates or cocaine in the state without a prescription. The act made California a national leader in the war on drugs seven years before Congress enacted national drug prohibition with the Harrison Act.
That wasn't the beginning though:
In 1875, San Francisco passed the nation's first anti-drug law, the Opium Den Ordinance, aimed specifically at Chinese opium smoking.
The opium law was a success, sort of:
The raids broke the back of the opium-smoking culture, but the addicts moved on to morphine and heroin. The board proceeded to launch a pre-emptive attack on "Indian hemp" or cannabis in 1913.

At the time, cannabis was virtually unheard of in California. Nonetheless, the board warned of an influx of cannabis-using "Hindoos" (actually Sikhs) from India, and prevailed on the Legislature to ban the drug lest the habit spread to whites. Ironically, only after being outlawed did marijuana become popular, eventually being used by millions of Californians.


I think a minute of silence is called for. Tomorrow at 4:20 is as good a time as any.

Fine whines in Gaza

I heard on the radio yesterday that 80% of Palestinians in Gaza are dependent on foreign food aid.

Gaza used to provide 75% of Israel's produce, plus $100m in exports.

Gee, I wonder what happened?

And the evil Zionists even left synagogues to turn into military bases:

Mr. Abir blamed the Jewish state for the desecration of the Gaza synagogues by Palestinian Arabs, claiming the decision to leave the structures intact was part of an Israeli conspiracy.

Israel "left the synagogues behind so the world would see the Palestinians destroying them," Mr. Abir said.


Free Palestine...with $20 additional purchase, cigarettes and alcohol excluded.

"Composer's Datebook" on IP, and other comp biz

I had to work yesterday; I was coming in and hit the tail end of "Composer's Datebook", which was about Walter Damrosch's first American performance of Parsifal. Wagner had wanted it reserved for Bayreuth, so parts were not to be had. But a miniature score was available, and when Damrosch found out that the penalty for unauthorized performance was only 50 pounds, he set some copyists to work, and did a concert performance at the Met in 1886 (with a member of the original cast, yet). The impression left was that it was a good thing that Parsifal was shared with the world, and so it was, I think. But I have to wonder what a contemporary composer (or, more accurately, his heirs, as Wagner was already dead) would have done in such a case, and whether Composer's Datebook at all represents an official ACF take on such things. Then, name me one living American composer that anyone would go through such trouble to perform. Would anyone bootleg parts to a John Adams opera?

I found out about a week ago that Suburban Symphony was going to read and record my symphony (thanks, guys). Only...er...the parts weren't done. I'd formatted (but not copied) the winds, but the strings (13 different parts!) were going to be a chewy bit. well, I finished all formatting and copying this afternoon, and the set is in a box waiting for instructions on where to deliver it. They aren't perfect parts; every time I look, I see little goofs, mostly graphic rather than content. I worry that there's not enough information, esp. bowings and cues...or too many notes. I hope I can get them into proper hands before their Weds. rehearsal...which would give players 2 weeks to woodshed before the reading. I've never had a reading of this long a piece (24'/640 measures), for this large an orchestra (2-2-2-2-2 4-2-3-1 3, strings 8-7-5-5-3), and the players are an unknown quantity to me, so I'm nervous, even though I had always aimed the symphony at a community-type orchestra.

Now to focus on trying to finish the sax/vl/pf trio.

TSA official seeks civilian job

I guess when your job involves violating people's privacy, you develop fuzzy notions about just what should be kept private, including, uh, "privates."

Do not drive today

...and if you must, make sure you watch your speed and your seat belt. Highwaymen are everywhere, moreso even than on holidays. My wife says its because it's Full Moon. I was aware, but not aware enough...45 is a difficult speed: too fast for 4th, not quite fast enough for 5th. And I was doing the very reasonable speed of 56 when a Highwayman going the other direction stopped my coach. To convince me that his boots were worth licking, he dropped the speed and charged me the Freedom Tax for the right not to wear a seat belt.

This really looks like a planned, concerted crackdown. So why not stay home and put a dent in the economy?

In Seattle, even Legos have to be equal

I don't know whether to be thankful this wasn't a public school, or appalled that parents would actually pay for this. But now we know what those pinko Scandinavians really invented Legos for:


According to the article, the students had been building an elaborate "Legotown," but it was accidentally [sic] demolished. The teachers decided its destruction was an opportunity to explore "the inequities of private ownership." According to the teachers, "Our intention was to promote a contrasting set of values: collectivity, collaboration, resource-sharing, and full democratic participation."

The children were allegedly incorporating into Legotown "their assumptions about ownership and the social power it conveys." These assumptions "mirrored those of a class-based, capitalist society -- a society that we teachers believe to be unjust and oppressive."

When I was a kid, my friend Dan Czeski and I both had HO-scale villages in the Kingdom of Rotochio, and we did play out "assumptions about ownership and social power" -- a generally libertarian scoiety, with legalized prostitution, but with large extremes of weath and poverty. I think it was our way of making sense of the adult world. And it was more often "the peasants" who ended up on top.


At the end of that time, Legos returned to the classroom after the children agreed to several guiding principles framed by the teachers, including that "All structures are public structures" and "All structures will be standard sizes." The teachers quote the children:

"A house is good because it is a community house."

"We should have equal houses. They should be standard sizes."

"It's important to have the same amount of power as other people over your building."

Teacher, I'm gonna thwow up...
Tip o'hat to DeCoster.

Filthy capitalism for clean air

Moron More on Gore:

Gore helped found Generation Investment Management, through which he and others pay for offsets. The firm invests the money in solar, wind and other projects that reduce energy consumption around the globe…

As co-founder and chairman of the firm Gore presumably draws an income or will make money as its investments prosper. In other words, he “buys” his “carbon offsets” from himself, through a transaction designed to boost his own investments and return a profit to himself. To be blunt, Gore doesn’t buy “carbon offsets” through Generation Investment Management - he buys stocks.

And it is not clear at all that Gore’s stock purchases - excuse me, “carbon offsets” purchases - actually help reduce the use of carbon-based energy at all, while the gas lanterns and other carbon-based energy burners at his house continue to burn carbon-based fuels and pump carbon emissions - a/k/a/ “greenhouse gases” - into the atmosphere.

The Virginian sees a kind of carbon-based sumtuary law in our future:

The danger is that the use of “carbon offsets” will create two things that re morally monstrous: a de-facto sumptuary law and the impoverishments of the poor and powerless of this planet.

The creation of an aristocratic elite that differentiates itself from the hoi polloi by its ability to buy “carbon offsets” while the rest of the planet is forced by environmental laws into a smaller and smaller carbon straightjacket is not so far fetched.


Meanwhile, the smart money is shorting alternative-energy stocks.

"That's so gay"

Rebeka Rice got into a heap of trouble for saying that to her classmates (who were practicing anti-Mormon hate speech at the time) , and her parents are suing on First Amendment grounds.

It was worth a talk with the principal, I think, but it wasn't hate speech, and not worth a note in the file. I grew up saying, "I was gypped...he jewed me down", and I never associated those terms with the Romany or Jews. I didn't even know any Romany or Jews, so how could I have an opinion? And what about "that sucks?" I once had a boss tell me it was anti-homosexual. But everyone says that; are we all homophobes? I'm all for cleaning hidden messages out of our language, but must we begin and end with minorities, when standard government speech is nothing but euphemism and dysphemism?

I once knew a lad who came home from school saying, "That's gay." His mother explained to him why that was Not Acceptable. He knew perfectly well what it meant though. "Okay...but guys and guys...ewwww!" "Well, what about Peter and Patrick, and Lori and Lisa?" "Well, they're cool, but guys and guys...ewwww." Well, Mom had swung both ways in her day, and even said that by the law of averages her present husband should have been female. So she came out to her kid! That shut him up. But I have to wonder how that altered his thought processes.

Did Mike Adams step in it?

There seems to be a bit of furor over Mike Adams' article linking a jihadist website to Prof Julio Pino. I read the article yesterday, and decided to hold off blogging it, for several reasons. One was that I didn't see anything on the site connecting it to Pino, and Adams didn't "show his work". The other was that Adams was stirring up outrage against Pino's university for something one of its employees was doing on his own time, in his own space. That's a good-sized brick Prof. Mike is tossing round in his greenhouse, and this being a Case blog, it would be a catapult in mine. Any negative repercussions we could recommend for Pino would rebound to us, in spades.

If "global-war" were treasonous, Pino (if it is in fact his site) could be dealt with criminally, and his academic connection would be irrelevant. I took a brief tour, and while what I found was disgusting, it did not rise to the level of treason ("AID AND comfort"-- if comfort alone were sufficient, 90% of the Democratic Party would meet the firing squad). And disgust is not a reason to abrogate freedom of speech, academically or in larger society.

I'm interested to see how Dr. Mike will handle this. I didn't see anything yet at http://www.dradams.org/ I've seen him as one of the Good Guys, but if you're a Good Guy, you need to be twice as careful with your facts as the Bad Guys are. And it's not clear that's happened here. The school appears to be handling this correctly; apparently Pino has published some opinions in the student paper that were congruent with "global-war", and they let that go (did you really want them censoring the student paper?) That's what I hate about conservatives and liberals: they complain when they're shut out of the debate, but are anxious to shut others out as well.

Ted Strickland keeps his girl in line

Wow, I'm impressed. Ted Strickland has announced that if the legislature passes Dem. Rep. Edna Brown's (of Toledo, the real Mistake on the Lake) mandatory HPV vaccination bill, he won't sign it.

"The governor believes this is a relatively new medical treatment and our initial approach should be a cautious one," Dailey said.

The wrong reason, and it leaves the door open, but I'm still pleased that he'd buck one of his own party.