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

Toledo doesn't need a 4th Amendment..or 2nd.

From the Toledo Blade, a former diplomat cold-bloodedly dissects how we could eliminate private printing-press gun ownership:

The disarmament process would begin after the initial three-month amnesty. Special squads of police would be formed and trained to carry out the work. Then, on a random basis to permit no advance warning, city blocks and stretches of suburban and rural areas would be cordoned off and searches carried out in every business, dwelling, and empty building. All firearms would be seized. The owners of weapons found in the searches would be prosecuted: $1,000 and one year in prison for each firearm.
I must admit, it's novel to see a police state described without any opinion on its desirability...and more than a little creepy.

Highwayman alert

Starting Monday and through the next five weeks, the State Highway Patrol will police five stretches of Cuyahoga County highways between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. in an effort to reduce crashes that kill and injure.

The targeted areas of Interstate 480 and Interstate 90 run through Cleveland, Brooklyn, Euclid, Garfield Heights, Maple Heights and Warrensville Heights.

Drive carefully; the money (and life) you save may be your own.

Ed Rendell comes clean on speed

I'm inclined to go easy on the governor of Pennsylvania. He does wear his seat belt (or so he says; he is a politician after all), and he pushes the speed limit rather than flouting it with lights blazing. And he's right: the people set their own speed limits, and sometimes you have to go with the will of the people.

Maybe they should all come out. Ted, do you drive like an old preacher? Jenny, I know you speed; everyone speeds in Michigan. What about Ahnold; do you wear your belt like a girly man?

Japanese "poodles" actually sheep

I don't know what is stupider: paying $1600 for a poodle (and considering it a bargain) or not knowing that your $1600 poodle is actually a sheep. You'd think the hooves would be a giveaway. But urban Japanese are pretty distant from the land, and sheep are rare in Japan.

They could always eat their either case, even if they aren't Korean.

Johnston murderers plead guilty

Officer J.R. Smith ... pleaded guilty to manslaughter, violation of oath, criminal solicitation, making false statements and perjury, which was based on untrue claims in a warrant. Former Officer Gregg Junnier, 40, who retired from the Atlanta police force in January, pleaded guilty to manslaughter, violation of oath, criminal solicitation and making false statements. Both men are expected to face more than 10 years in prison.

This is a disappointment though:

Fulton County prosecutor Peter Johnson disclosed Thursday that the officers involved in Johnston's death fired 39 shots, striking her five or six times, including a fatal blow to the chest.

He said Johnston only fired once through her door and didn't hit any of the officers. That means the officers who were wounded likely were hit by their own colleagues, he said.

Hey, I beat Balko on this!

UPDATE: Patterico eats crow over this.

Not just Japanese soldiers...

...were served by Japanese "comfort women":

"Sadly, we police had to set up sexual comfort stations for the occupation troops," recounts the official history of the Ibaraki Prefectural Police Department, whose jurisdiction is just northeast of Tokyo. "The strategy was, through the special work of experienced women, to create a breakwater to protect regular women and girls."

No problem with that, except that apparently some women were coerced or defrauded into going into that work. Apparently (unlike during the war) no foreign nationals were conscripted. Price was 15 yen, cost of half a pack of cigarettes.

MacArthur closed 'em down, because it wouldn't play well back home, and because a quarter of his troops had VD.

If the cops won't do their job...

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A citizen filed a complaint against Gov. Jon S. Corzine for failing to wear his seat belt in the highway accident that left the governor critically injured.

A judge will review the complaint next week and decide whether to hold a hearing, which could lead to a $46 fine, said Roseanne Lugg, court administrator for Galloway Township, where the April 12 crash occurred.

10 Steps to fascism

Ace of Spades and rightwingprof are frothing all over themselves over Naomi Wolf's Guardian article, with Ace contributing a sentence which is literally stuck on stupid. Well, yes, the article is kind of stupid. But the 10 steps are certainly valid, and what is stupid about the piece is the idea that Dubya has actually taken those steps, and that those steps are original with Dubya, when actually they've been standard operating procedure for some time now, among both parties. So in the interest of non-stupid discourse, let's look at Naoli's steps:

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy

Like Communists under Wilson, Truman, Kennedy and Johnson, militias under Clinton, global warming under shadow-President Gore

2. Create a gulag

Like Roosevelt did for the Japanese...only he did it to American citizens and residents instead of POWS

3. Develop a thug caste union enforcers, gangstas, violent protesters, people trashing Republican offices

4. Set up an internal surveillance system

5. Harass citizens' groups
...militas, churches, pro-life groups

6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release
She exaggerates here, but I have to give the Bush admin credit for reviving this Lincoln-era standard, and I can't think of a Democrat to pin it on (maybe Wilson). Don't worry; there'll be one soon enough.

7. Target key individuals
Here's she's complaining about the US Attorney idiocy. But key individuals have ALWAYS been targeted

8. Control the press
BWAHAHA! the Left OWNS the press. And where it doesn't, it's agitating for revival of the "Fairness Doctrine" so that it WILL.

9. Dissent equals treason
She's got the gall to cite the Palmer raids, from a Democratic administration. Then there's global warming hysteria, the Bonus March, HUAC, Johnson's attitude toward Vietnam protesters...

10. Suspend the rule of law
Done bit by bit through the "Living constitution"

But hey, I've heard Naomi works for Al Gore. All of the above are just in preparation for a revival of Europe's first Green administration (organic agriculture, anti-smoking, alternative fuels, genetic research, population control and, uh, recycling)

"Hanging from the tree of liberty" is racist??

Well, so think some black lawmakers in PA, objecting to a sign which objected to the thoroughly objectionable Rep. Angel Cruz and his proposed 2nd Amendment violation without mentioning Rep. Cruz' ethnicity.

I don't get it. Evidently:
1. Nobody but black people were ever hung from trees anywhere, so that any mention of tree hanging is an automatic invocation of lynching.

2. The lawmakers objecting were never taught the subjunctive mood in school, and believe that "should be hung" is semantically equivalent to "we will hang you", and thus a "terrorist threat"

This is before we get into the worthwhile but politically loaded question of whether violation of the Constitution should be a hanging offence. Being a civilized man, I'd settle for lethal injection, though hanging is already a compromise for the more-deserved drawing-and-quartering. Can anybody doubt that if the target of ire were Dick Cheney instead of a Puerto-Rican victim disarmament advocate, these wouldn't be the voices objecting?

Hillary wants to clean house

We have ta reform our government. The abuses that have gone on in the last six years -- I don' think we know the half of it yet. You know, when I walk into the Oval Office in January of 2009, I'm afraid I'm gonna lift up the rug and I'm goin' to see so much stuff uh-nder thar.
. . . I was listening to Squawk Radio the other night and heard this. Yeah, she was getting a bit Ebonic there, but if Darling Husband can be "the first black president", I don't see why Hillary can't take on a bit of her audience. The more interesting question is why she's afraid to lift that rug. My wife opined that Laura Bush is too down-to-earth to mess around with lifting the carpets. What Hil is really afraid of finding is her husband's used condoms...eight years later.

I am so disillusioned...

The Roman Catholic statesman Noah, Chief Seattle, made a speech in 1854. That speech was transcribed and embellished from incomplete notes 33 years later, and further added to (the parts that everyone quotes) in the 60s, culminating in the "canonical version" in the eco-propaganda film Home in 1971. And thus the Chief has become posthumously a great philosopher, while the thrust of his original speech is, "Guys, they're offering us money for our land...which is pretty generous, because they can just take it lets go along to get along."

Funny how this never gets quoted though:
"But why should we repine? Why should I murmur at the fate of my people? Tribes are made up of individuals and are no better than they."
The source of my disillusionment, linked by Bidinotto.

Graf Bloomberg von Neuyorkstadt

Bidinotto takes apart Michael Bloomberg's proposal to tax people $8 for driving into his city. And yes, it's his. Bidinotto explains "stolen concept" elegantly, but doesn't make Mikey pay for his. Taxation is capitalism IF NYC and everything and everyone in it belongs to Mikey. Then he's free to charge admission to "his" property, just like any amusement-park owner. Thus, Bloomberg is claiming ownership. You'd think that this would be obvious to NYC residents and that they would act accordingly, but then you would have thought that when Mikey stole all the public buildings in the interest of health. Apparently Mikey is going to have to start claiming the droit du seigneur before residents wake up. And even then, they'll be saying, "Being mayor of the Capital of the World is a stressful job; he needs the relaxation."

If Mikey wants a lesson in capitalism, he should look at how cars are managed now. Having a car in NYC is a royal PITA. Nobody in their right mind drives there unless they absolutely have to. They're surrounded by disincentives already, in time and money. So it's a fair bet that NYC's streets and garages have already found their highest use. In a free market, those who can't afford what a vendor charges will go elsewhere. That's very close to what's happening in NYC in general, just because it's so expensive to live there. Now, what if truckers decided not to spend that $8, sat in their rigs, and watched the citizens barbecue each other to survive?

Beth...Jeff 'n' Elsie...I love you guys, but you're corpses on furlough as long as you stay there. There's a lot of art and artists that I'm going to mourn when (not if) the Big Apple gets cold-pasteurized. But I didn't drink the Kool-Aid Flav-r-aid that one has to be in NYC to have a career.

Thanks to Beck...who personally suffers because of New Yorkers' desire to be owned.

Crow and Zappa

Ivan Osorio compares the Sheryl Crow TP campaign (Halloween in my youth would have been grounds for the death penalty) to Zappa's Joe's Garage.

This is absurd, of course, just like Sheryl Crow’s suggestions for rationing toilet paper or showering only once a week, but with two major differences: Frank Zappa wasn’t pushing a trendy agenda, and he was genuinely funny.

Make that 3: Zappa was obviously doing satire.
No, make that 4: Zappa had talent.

Rosie O'Donnell of all people nailed Crow with five words, "Have you seen my a**?"

Thanks to Beck.

One of these things is not like the others

Joe Milicia of AP does a piece comparing the VT and U-TX at Austin shootings to Kent State. He doesn't come out and say that the National Guard was crazy. Or that they should have been disarmed. Or...much of anything, really.

Academic and religious freedom in Pittsburghistan

Dutch feminist author Ayaan Hirsi Ali appeared at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, and local Muslims were not too happy. The University, to its credit, held its ground.

Imam Fouad ElBayly, president of the Johnstown Islamic Center, was among those who objected to Hirsi Ali's appearance.

"She has been identified as one who has defamed the faith. If you come into the faith, you must abide by the laws, and when you decide to defame it deliberately, the sentence is death," said ElBayly, who came to the U.S.
from Egypt in 1976. ...

Although ElBayly believes a death sentence is warranted for Hirsi Ali, he stressed that America is not the jurisdiction where such a crime should be punished. Instead, Hirsi Ali should be judged in a Muslim country after being given a trial, he added.

"If it is found that a person is mentally unstable, or a child or disabled, there should be no punishment," he said. "It's a very merciful religion if you try to understand it."

So murdering people for changing their mind about a hypothetical omnipotent, omnipresent, invisible and immortal humanoid is "merciful"? Sounds like Imam ElBayly could use some Islamic Mercy himself.

Steyn on VT

A few excerpts from a must-read:

And at Yale, the dean of student affairs, Betty Trachtenberg, reacted to the Virginia Tech murders by taking decisive action: She banned all stage weapons from plays performed on campus. After protests from the drama department, she modified her decisive action to "permit the use of obviously fake weapons" such as plastic swords.

...the [VT] administration has created a "Gun-Free School Zone." Or, to be more accurate, they've created a sign that says "Gun-Free School Zone." And, like a loopy medieval sultan, they thought that simply declaring it to be so would make it so. The "gun-free zone" turned out to be a fraud -- not just because there were at least two guns on the campus last Monday, but in the more important sense that the college was promoting to its students a profoundly deluded view of the world...

The "gun-free zone" fraud isn't just about banning firearms or even a symptom of academia's distaste for an entire sensibility of which the Second Amendment is part and parcel but part of a deeper reluctance of critical segments of our culture to engage with reality. Michelle Malkin wrote a column a few days ago connecting the prohibition against physical self-defense with "the erosion of intellectual self-defense," and the retreat of college campuses into a smothering security blanket of speech codes and "safe spaces" that's the very opposite of the principles of honest enquiry and vigorous debate on which university life was founded. And so we "fear guns," and "verbal violence," and excessively realistic swashbuckling in the varsity production of ''The Three Musketeers.'' What kind of functioning society can emerge from such a cocoon?

Are you listening, Case administration and Ohio legislature?

Matt Taibbi on the Imus Affair

The Imus affair hasn't totally died out yet. This Rolling Stone post-mortem from Weds. takes no prisoners:

First of all, let's just get this out of the way: The idea that anyone in the media world gives a shit about the dignity of women, black or white, is a ridiculous joke. America's TV networks have spent the last forty years falling over each other trying to find better and more efficient ways to sell tits to the 18-to-35 demographic. They make hour-long prime-time reality dramas these days about shopping-obsessed sluts hitting each other with pocketbooks, for Christ's sake. Paris Hilton -- dumb, rich -- gets her own prime-time show. MTV, the teenie mags, the pop music industry, they're basically all an endless parade of skinny, half-naked brainless women selling makeup and jeans to neurotic, self-hating, weight-obsessed little girls.

The idea that NBC -- the company that proudly produced 241 episodes of Baywatch, a show whose two main characters for nearly a decade were Pamela Anderson's tits -- was "offended" by the use of the word "ho" is beyond preposterous. Until this incident, I would have wagered very good money that "ho" would be in the title of at least one NBC-produced reality pilot within the next ten years. You can't see that? Trivia-battling sluts in Ho-llywod Squares? An irony-for-irony's-sake callgirl-improvement show called Pimp My Ho? Would you bet real money that the Paris-and-Nicole vehicle The Simple Life wasn't originally called Whore Acres at some stage of the pre-production process? I sure as hell wouldn't. Programming decisions of the The Bachelor ilk aren't spontaneous mid-show farts by an aging drug-battered brain like the Imus deal -- they're wide-awake decisions, forged in the crucible of number-crunching corporate reflection, to use reactionary images of cheap brainless skanks to sell Fritos and pickup trucks.

And that's only a taste.

German Jews take theology to court

A few Reform Jews are unhappy with the former Sephardic chief rabbi:

Eliyahu, who is considered the spiritual leader of the National Religious Party, was asked by the radio interviewer, "What was the sin of the six million?" In response, he quoted from Exodus 22:5: "If fire gets out of control and spreads through weeds, and [then] consumes bound or standing grain or a field, the one who started the fire must make restitution."

He then said, "Those people [Jews in general] are not to blame, but Reform started in Germany, those who changed the religion began in Germany. And because it is written that God was angered, even He did not differentiate among the righteous, it was done." The chief rabbi of
Safed, Eliyahu's son Shmuel Eliyahu, said his father's words do not justify the Nazi crimes but "are based on historic facts," and that anti-Semitism rose where there was assimilation.

They've filed a slander complaint...which I don't understand. Eliyahu's argument is that Reform angered God, who allowed the Holocaust to happen. Now, that is a theological proposition. The only way to decide whether it is false and thus slanderous is to have YHVH Himself testify.If you take "God's wrath" out of the equation, you have the claim that Reform is not true Judaism, which is again a theological argument. This case would be thrown out of court in America...but this is Germany, which is a little twitchy about the Holocaust.

Indeed the only person being slandered here is God, who is being accused of overreacting and of having lousy aim. OK, Reform started in Germany, but if God wanted to kill Reform Jews, he could have gotten behind Fr. Coughlin and done it in America, with less risk to the orthodox. And since God is equally capable of dealing with those who slander Him or who slander others in His name, the court system is totally superfluous.

Take their guns away!

No, not mentally ill Korean kids...

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two Secret Service officers were injured on Tuesday after a gun held by another Secret Service officer accidentally fired inside the White House gate, according to a spokesman, Darrin Blackford.

Oh yeah. "The gun fired", just got up and made the hard decision that SS agents needed to be shot.

There's no such thing as "accidental discharge", only "negligent discharge."

Canadian experiences Southern hospitality

A 23-year-old Carleton University master's student is outraged and demanding an apology from Georgia officials after spending more than 11 uncomfortable hours in a detention centre for running a stop sign and speeding.

Cheryl Kuehn said she was fingerprinted and had her mugshot taken before being forced to strip naked and shower, don a navy blue jail outfit and sleep in a cell with two other women while other inmates jeered and leered at her from adjoining cells.

But officials with the Georgia state police and Glynn County Detention Center, where Mrs. Kuehn was being held, said they were just following procedure when someone from another country is stopped for speeding or other traffic violations -- no matter how minor they might seem.

Our government has been dwelling a lot lately on "Canada is a foreign country." I suspect it's a softening-up operation for the North American Union, to make commerce between us so impossible that citizens of both nations will clamor to be in the same country.

I hope you have a better day than these folks did

Patriots Day, April 19, 1775 - 1st shot of American Revolution

APRIL 19 1933 -- President Franklin D. Roosevelt takes the US off the gold standard.

APRIL 19 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising

April 19, 1961- collapse of Bay of Pigs invasion

April 19, 1992 first attempted raid on the Weaver Family

April 19, 1993 - Federal agents attack Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, shooting or incinerating over 80 women, men, & children.

April 19, 1995 - Murrah Building in Oklahoma City bombed.

Debbie does jihad

Thanks to Mano, we now have the source (or at least an early spreader) of the "Cho-as-Muslim" meme: dollar-store Ann Coulter knockoff Debbie Schlussel. Apparently the post that Mano linked to was too stupid even for Schlussel's low standards, and has been removed. But there's plently of other prejudice and vitriol. I blush with embarrassment that she is a fellow Michigander and U-M grad (and at my comment at Mano's: apparently she does NOT write regularly for the Detroit News/Free Press).

In these times, one has to consider the possibility of terrorism, in the same way that one would consider the possibility that it was a psych drug reaction, as most school shootings have been. But that doesn't make it so, in either case, and to stretch circumstantial evidence to fit prejudice makes one look bad, and would certainly make any peaceful Muslim in this country feel threatened.

32 students PLUS the 1st Amendment?

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) - A University of Colorado student was arrested after making comments that classmates deemed sympathetic toward the gunman blamed for killing 32 students and himself at Virginia Tech, authorities said. ... At Oregon's Lewis & Clark College, another student was detained by campus police Wednesday shortly before a vigil for the Virginia Tech victims when he was spotted wearing an ammunition belt. Portland police later determined that it was "a fashion accessory" made of spent ammunition, and said the man did not have a weapon. The belt was confiscated.

More on the Traffic Safety Poster Child

Add to trooper Robert Rasinski's violations of law in the service of Governor Corzine (failure to make passenger buckle seat belt, failure to cite passenger for not wearing seat belt) this one: 91 in a 65 zone...with emergency lights flashing. Why does this man still have a job, after endangering the public and his boss the way he did? Yes, I know why he did it...but that defence didn't work for Adolf Eichmann either.

I've really tried to keep a lid on the Schadenfreud. But this is it. I really don't care if Corzine is ever well enough again to take on the duties of governor, because he has shown through his arrogance that he is unfit for the office of governor. Maybe he can limp into a TV studio and do "buckle up" commercials, or even "obey traffic laws" commercials. He probably doesn't realize how lucky he is that Cho Seung-Hui took him out of the spotlight. But we're going to remember here, and give you progress reports.

Roundup of Case bloggery re Virginia Tech

James Chang has a pretty level-headed roundup himself. Read the Bradford Wiles letter and his analysis of "Ismail AX". The claim that Cho was a jihadi is spun out of air; I cannot believe that a Muslim devout enough to wage violent jihad could have written Cho's play. Chang's earlier post is a timeline.

Nicole Sharp's personal note seems to have drawn a plethora of inane comments, most of which reduce to "Why don't they protect us? And why don't they ban guns?" Hey Ben, have you ever fired a "semi automatic weapon"? Or a revolver? What's the difference in rate of fire? Or do you think only muzzleloaders should be legal? Part of being an adult is being responsible for protecting yourself. And if that remark sounds a tad parental, consider that it's the government or campus security that you're asking to be your parents.

And to close, let me add this non-Case link:

In response to student Bradford Wiles's campus newspaper op-ed piece in support of concealed carry on campus, Virginia Tech Associate Vice President Larry Hincker scoffed:
"[I]t is absolutely mind-boggling to see the opinions of Bradford Wiles. . . . The editors of this page must have printed this commentary if for no other reason than malicious compliance. Surely, they scratched their heads saying, 'I can't believe he really wants to say that.' Wiles tells us that he didn't feel safe with the hundreds of highly trained officers armed with high powered rifles encircling the building and protecting him. He even implies that he needed his sidearm to protect himself . . ."

The nerve!

Hincker continued: "The writer would have us believe that a university campus, with tens of thousands of young people, is safer with everyone packing heat. Imagine the continual fear of students in that scenario. We've seen that fear here, and we don't want to see it again. . . . Guns don't belong in classrooms. They never will. Virginia Tech has a very sound policy preventing same."

Who's scratching his head now, Mr. Hincker?

John Edwards: man of the people

That son of a mill worker supervisor spends more per month on haircuts than my family has ever spent on groceries.

'Nuff said.

This man has blood on his hands

More than one year before today's unprecedented shooting rampage at Virginia Tech, the state's General Assembly quashed a bill that would have given qualified college students and employees the right to carry handguns on campus.

At the time, Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker said he was happy to hear of the bill's defeat, according to the Roanoke Times.

"I'm sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly's actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus," the Virginia Tech spokesman said.

I'm glad they felt safe. Wouldn't it have been better if they were safe?

It was a little eerie seeing the TV vans on Bellflower as I left work, knowing they were there for the "local color" part of the story. I was fortunate to have taken the Friday of Bizzy Halder's Adventure off, so I didn't twitch as much as I might have.

And then we got the "caring message" from President Eastman:

The threat of crime is one that Case Western Reserve University takes very seriously. We have been and always will be committed to doing all we can to promote the safety of our students, faculty and staff.

...except of course for altering the status of Case as a victim disarmament zone. I'm glad we have the best campus security around. I'm gladder that they finally got guns. But they can't be everywhere at once. Mr. Virginia Perp shouldn't have made it to the other side of campus, as he did.

CDC wants gun control

...nail guns that is.

Actually, I suspect that most nail gun injuries are a result of getting hammered. :-)

Thanks to the inimitable Ms. DeCoster.

Abstain from abstinence ed.

Well, apparently abstinence education doesn't work.

It's odd that people support it, because many of the people in favor of abstinence education don't think that the public schools are doing a good job on the basics. If they can't teach reading, how can they teach chastity? "But the liberal education establishment teaches their values all the time." Well, that's right: their values. You can't effectively teach values you don't believe in. Bourgeois Marxism isn't taught in school; it's inhaled as it seeps out of the pores of everyone involved. And if the faculty of a public school believed as firmly in chastity, the Religious Right would be partying like it's 1870 (don't make the tea too strong, and make sure the piano legs have their pants on). But they don't; indeed there are increasing numbers of incidents where faculty of either sex have decided that high school is their own personal Chicken Ranch. If you really want your kid to have a chaste education, it needs to be administered by chaste educators, which in practice means a Christian school. But then, this was never about abstinence ed for your kids; it was about abstinence ed for everybody's kids.

I'll say it again, and you'll call me an unfeeling brute again: the best abstinence ed is for teenage girls to watch their babies go hungry or without medical care.

CCG Junior Concert

OK, I should have blogged that it was coming up - but then, you should have been checking The show was SRO...but then, we were in the little side chapel in The Holy Oil Can (Epworth-Euclid United Methodist), so it was cozy; I spent the concert on the organ bench in back. But the acoustics were better, and the walls shut out noise better than the recital hall at CMSS where the Junior Concert was usually been done. For those not in the know about this institution (14 years...does that make it an institution?), student performers from Junior Fortnightly Musical Club and the Cleveland Music School Settlement are put forward by their teachers, composers volunteer, and then the two are randomly matched; you don't know what or who you are going to write for, going in. When I have participated, I've written for violin/piano, bassoon/piano. trumpet/piano, voice/flute/piano (for the charming and talented flutist Allison Ballard, now an employee at Kulas Library), string bass/piano, piano, and 2 pianos. I haven't volunteered in several years, but probably will next year. The pieces are crafted to the student's strengths and weaknesses. The student gets paid, their teacher gets paid, and the composer gets paid (when the grant money comes through). The last several years, we have included the opposite approach: student compositions played by professionals.

This year, the more interesting entries were by new members of the Guild. With some of the members who have done this a lot, I had the feeling that they were writing down a bit...not technically, which is necessary, but musically. Consider: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Only one big word there, and it's one everyone knows. But it sure isn't baby talk. Everything was more-or-less tonal (nuthin' wring with that though), with not an extended technique to be heard.

The three student pieces were all worthwhile listens. Eric Lin's Night Hunt evoked Yakov Smirnoff's signature line (What a country!); where else could a Chinese-American write music that sounded like Vivaldi hanging out in a Hungarian gypsy camp? But the best (and I blush to admit, the best piece on the program, as well as the most progressive) was from Monica Houghton's student Max Mueller, a senior at Lakewood High who is going to Cal Arts to study film music. His Glass for 3 cellos spoke a pop/minimalist language with eloquence and cohesion. He may not be another Mozart (or even another Jay Greenberg), but he's a talented young man who should do well.

And, miraculously, I already got the CD from Wednesday's Gramercy Trio concert, and it's even better the 2nd time around.

Blush is off the organic apple for Wal-Mart

It appears that Wal-Mart's organic strategy isn't working too I expected. There's a sizeable part of Wally World's clientele that hasn't yet learned to buy produce, let alone organic produce. People who shop W-M are shopping price-first, and while it would be lovely if they saw the value in organic-at-10%-premium (if W-M could ever deliver that), there's no guarantee they will...or that the people who do would get off their liberal high horses and shop at the eevul exploiting Wal-Mart. Nor are organic farmers in a hurry to let their deal go down; this is not a business based on volume. And let's not even get into "China organic."

Unlike many slow-fooders, I'm not a Wal-Mart basher, though I don't shop there much. But turning their business model 180 to go upscale doesn't make any sense to me at all.

Cite Jon Corzine for no seatbelt!

Beck explores at length and volume how it is that a citizen can ride a foot or so away from a state trooper and not be made to wear his seat belt, just because that citizen's job title is "governor". NJ citizens should pray for Corzine's soul, because if his body makes it, there will be no end to enforcement.

There's an odd factoid in the Guardian article Billy linked to:

The accident marks the third straight time a New Jersey governor has broken a leg while in office. McGreevey broke his leg in 2002 during a nighttime walk on the beach, and Christie Whitman broke her leg while skiing in the Swiss Alps in 1999.

Given the popular association of Joisey wit da Mob, you have to wonder."If you sign that bill, you might break a leg."

Gra-merci beaucoup!

Wednesday night's concert by the Gramercy Trio (Sharan Leventhal, violin; Jonathan Miller, cello, Randall Hodgkinson, piano) at Guzzetta Hall at the University of Akron was a true delight (though a delight, alas, shared by only 2 dozen people). The performance of my trio was sensitive, well thought out, and virtuosic.The 1st movement was played in a very light style that emphasized its scherzando qualities...not the way I'd conceived the piece, but it worked very well, maybe better than a more Sturm und Drang conception would have. I was thrilled with the performance.

Gramercy would like to do the whole program somewhere else, and Sharan Leventhal said that she would like to include my piece on some other concert. That would be wonderful if it happens, because I've had NO penetration on the coasts, which is where most American cultural consensus is built.

I see that Sharan is also a member of the Kepler Quartet, which would explain her remark about a "Ben Johnston-y moment" in the trio, and her good intonation. (They're recording all the Johnston quartets.)

Half my flute s'notta on the 22nd, then nothing scheduled until spring of '08, I guess I have time to compose and to promote some compositions.

Cuyahoga Boat Song

A bit of salon music for piano, a little barcarolle about dreamily floating down the river that burned.

Cincy bends over for Bloomberg too

Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory and "13 [unnamed] suburban mayors" have joined Bloomberg's Conspiracy Against the Constitution. I guess they had to, else we might start taking Cincy seriously, and they'd lose their status as laughingstock of Ohio. Bloombooger was in town for the ceremonial signing. The Bloomenbergers can't be too excited about this, as none of the names have made the website yet. But keep an eye on it...especially when election season rolls around.

Stay safe: get old, pale, and honest.

The PD publicizes a politically incorrect truth: that the best way to not be murdered in Cleveland is not to be a Black hoodlum:

Most of the victims of homicide in Cleveland look a lot like their killers.

They are criminals being killed by other criminals. The incidents almost always involve black men killing a man of the same race.

It's amazing that they'd come out and say that, but they have the research to back it up. I guess that the need to reassure white suburbanites so that they'll come to Cleveland trumps any offense the Black community might take. Not that one could blame them for being offended, given the tendency of some yutzes-of-pallor to blame genetics rather than underclass status and a dysfunctional subculture.

There's also some silly hand-wringing about how to get African-American youths not to become hoodlums: more cops, more rec centers. Uh-huh. Why not legalize drugs so that the black market and the crime it engenders disappears? Or quit subsidizing production of Daddy-less babies, who are more prone to becoming criminals? I guess maybe because those solutions involve less government.

Elgin powice get they widdle feelins hurt!

The police sent a SWAT team against a nice middle-aged couple because an anonymous tipster said they had guns. Of course they didn't have guns; this is Illinois, where by definition law-abiding citizens don't have guns. The Grangers were a little hot, especially when the police wouldn't accept a complaint. The city is paying for the repairs, and now it's the cops' turn to be offended:

Officer Bill Wood, the police union president, said the union does not oppose the city's decision to pay for repairs to the house but is upset by statements from City Council members who he said seem to be rushing to judgment when "everything we did that day, front to back, was by the book."

Well, when you can get a no-knock warrant on the basis of an anonymous tip, for something that shouldn't be a crime anyway, maybe the book needs to be re-written.
Someone on ClaireFiles observed that, so far, it's been a 1-in-6 chance that the Elgin cops will come up empty on a raid. So it really is a roll-of-the-dice.

Paging Tim Bartels and Jennifer Swift

The British may soon be permitted to do dynamic entry on your home to collect on parking tickets. Children are being fingerprinted before they can check out library books. And you two willingly live there??

Mrs. Edwards' neighborhood

She said:

"I wouldn't be nice to him, anyway," Edwards said in an interview. "I don't want my kids anywhere near some guy who, when he doesn't like somebody, the first thing he does is pull a gun out. It scares the business out of me."

Edwards views Johnson as a "rabid, rabid Republican" who refuses to clean up his "slummy" property just to spite her family, whose lavish 28,000-square-foot estate is nearby on 102 wooded acres.

He said:

Johnson said he has lived his entire life on the property, which he said his family purchased before the Great Depression. He said he's spent a lot of money to try and fix up the 42-acre tract.

"I have to budget. I have to live within my means," Johnson said. "I don't have millions of dollars to fix the place."

"I thought he was supposed to be for the poor people," Johnson said. "But does he ever socialize with any poor people? He doesn't speak to me."

Johnson said he has put his property on the market, in part blaming the high property taxes for his decision to leave. He also wants to move for another reason.

"I don't want to live somewhere where someone's always complaining about me," he said.

He can come live in my 'hood. As for the Edwards', between Ike sighting in his gun in the back yard, the machine-gunners in the quarry, my roosters, pink henhouse and Gadsden flag, Jeff Wells' dog and parties, the abusive men who abandon stray women in front of Gino Adkins' place, and our determination not to vote for any more taxes, I don't think they'd enjoy Windham Twp.

Roll away the shell!

We had to move the incubator out of the bedroom and into the kitchen Saturday night, as the eggs were hatching, and the chicks' intermittant peeping was like a malfunctioning smoke detector. It wasn't the sound that made it hard to sleep, but waiting for the sound. I hadn't planned the hatch for Easter; it was just the soonest I could get one going after the dog incident, and since I don't have a church gig, I tend to get fuzzy about the liturgical calendar. But there was something symbolic and fitting about awakening on Easter morning to three new chicks. When we returned from Michigan yesterday, 7 were hatched. The eighth had made an attempt but wasn't moving and may have been stillborn; we'll look closer tonight.

Friday I got my One Green World order. I like OGW because they take care with their roots and have come very interesting plants. But alas, they had screwed up my order. The shipper was correct: one compact Stella cherry, one Jubilee fruiting rose. But instead of the rose, they shipped a Jubileum [Morello] cherry. It was mildly understandable that somebody had pulled that. But the same person shouldn't have been pulling and packing, and the difference between a rose and a cherry tree is pretty dramatic. I called Fri. night, but everyone responsible had left for the day, and the lady said that I would be called in the morning. I wasn't, so I called again ca. 2PM Pacific on Sat. and still didn't get anyone authoritative. But I was told I could keep the Jubileum, that they'd put in a reorder and that she'd let me know when it shipped. I didn't plant them Sat. because snow was covering the place where they were to go, but I got them heeled in last night.

Piano Trio performance coming

On Weds. the 11th at 8PM at the University of Akron, the Gramercy Trio will be doing my Piano Trio on a CCG concert on the U-Ak New Music Festival. For those who want a taste beforehand, here's a performance by Takako Masame, Linda Atherton, and Nicholas Underhill, of the Cleveland Chamber Collective.

I. Allegro agitato
II. Experience: variations after Jeremiah Ingalls

Alabaman wants you to buy terror-free gas

They've been trying to get Country of Origin Labeling on food for awhile now, without success. Now some idjit in Alabama's legislature wants COOL for gasoline, so you know when you're buying from terrorist states.

Petroleum is fungible. It gets mixed at the refinery. Any gas coming out of there will probably have a "bad guy" label on it, so all gas will be terror-linked. The tracking and labeling process itself will add costs to the gas.

But let's say it "works", that people see that their gas is coming from Iran or Venezuela or whoever the demon du jour is, and avoid buying it. What then? Alabaman stations will only sell kosher gas, bidding up the price. But since gas demand will remain steady, other parts of the country will get the trayf gas, perhaps at a small discount. So Alabamans will be paying through the nose to accomplish nothing.

I remember a quaint Southern custom involving tar, feathers, and a rail. Maybe it's time to throw Rep. Todd a party.

Trolls beneath the bridge

You're a Miami councilperson, and you want to seem tough on crime, and especially on those perverts who are preying on our children. So you decree that convicted sex offenders can't live within 2,500 feet of schools, parks and other places where children might gather.

So where can they live? Under a bridge. They have to "occupy a residence" from 10PM to 6AM, and under the bridge is where the parole officer finds them. The county can't find them anywhere else to live.

I'm not sticking up for pervs or anything, but...this is inhuman. If they've "paid their debt to society", then let them live as free men. If they can't be trusted within a half-mile of a child, then lock them up. But not this.

“Do you know who I am?”

"Yes, ma'am. You're "under arrest".
Not how it played, but the way it should have played, in the case of N'awlins councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell, caught doing 100 while running flashing blue lights.

It's spring at Black Water

...and the new chicks arrived this morning: 25 Golden Comets, mixed run. Here's my granddaughter Morgan showing one off:
 4-07 Morgan002.jpg

H-1Bs scarfed up in a day

Congress, in their concern for older IT workers being forced to accept a competitive wage, capped the number of H-1B tech visas at 65,000. For the 2007 visas, there were 150,000 applicants the first (and only) day applications were accepted.

"The congressman [Kucinich] believes it puts middle-aged professionals at a disadvantage because they're facing competition from people who are willing to work for less money," said spokeswoman Natalie Laber.

Employers like Iyer, meanwhile, are eyeing their options. He said he will search locally for talent but will prepare to send more work to Canada and overseas.

"Sometimes it's just plain impossible to find the skill here," he said. "The projects have to get done."

You can only cartelize labor if there's some way of restricting worker access to the jobs. In IT, there isn't. It's about as practical for your programmer to work in Bangelore as in California; communication and supervision might be harder, but you don't have to pay to bring him over. If you make him a team leader and do the whole project over there, you don't even have the communication issue. So tell me: since the foreign go-to guy is going to get the job anyway, what's better for America: to bring him over here, pay him lower-end American wages, and collect taxes from him (including Social Security he won't collect), or let him stay home, pay Indian wages, let the Indian government get fat on the tax revenue? All that's before we even deal with the rights of an individual to contract with whom he will.

I know there are scads of Case tech guys who read Case blogs. So tell me: how has this cap benefitted YOU? What am I missing in my analysis?

There aren't enough illegal drugs in Ohio... the cops want to make one more: Salvia divinorum

The Lorain County Drug Task Force raised concerns in February about the drug's availability after agents found the herb for sale at a cellular phone store in Lorain....

"It's something we feel should be outlawed," [task force head Capt. Dennis] Cavanaugh said. "It should not be available to kids."

Oh, we're going to make law on feelings now, eh copper? How about some thought here: who is being hurt by salvia? (assuming that there's a compelling state interest in forcing people to not hurt themselves, which I categorically reject.) We've got one kid who may have offed himself because of salvia-induced depression (How many times does that occur with alcohol?) And there's a conflict of interest in a drug overlord lobbying the legislature for a law that will increase his employment opportunities.

Since feelings are so treasured by Capt. Cavanaugh, you might want to share your feelings with him:
Captain Dennis E. Cavanaugh
9896 Murray Ridge Road
Elyria, OH 44035
(440) 329-3704
Fax: (440) 284-0360

First they hid away our cold meds...

...because they could be used to make meth. Now Rep. Talibdin El-Amin, D-St. Louis, wants to prevent Missourians from making limiting sales of baking soda.

Maybe because of that Moslem-ish name, he hasn't brought up the terrorist angle. When I was a kid, I had a rocket that ran on vinegar and baking soda. Banning baking soda is the only way to keep such high explosives out of children's hands, without taking away the soccer mom's salads. Can't have the kids getting interested in model rocketry, where eventually one uses real explosives. Besides, somebody might actually bake with the stuff, contributing to the country's rate of diabetes.

I think it's a rather draconian solution. Wouldn't it be better to leave crack production and sale in the hands of trained pharmaceutical professionals?

Eurotrash staging comes to Handel oratorio

I never knew that Handel's Samson was a suicide bomber who brought down the King David Hotel in 1946.

Given that music and words are intact, and it's an oratorio and thus not a stage work anyway, why does Simon Capet (or any number of European opera-house stage directors) think that anyone at all is interested in his political glosses of Biblical stories? Especially since one thing is not like the other? I gess he just wanted to "get people talking about music". But this isn't about music; it's about politics, and epistemological and moral illiteracy. But he DID get people talking.

At least it's not claiming to be a "historically informed performance", though I suppose it is "informed" by late 40s history. I wonder if donors will tell them to "shut up and sing", or if they get enough money from Ottawa that they can afford "daring, cutting-edge productions" that offend their audience.

An Asian gets Californicated

By the name, I suspect he grew up in a civilized country, as opposed to Kalifornistan, so it never occured to him that pointing guns at guys who were trying to steal your car is Just Not Allowed. So now he's pleading "accident", as if an accident could happen if he wasn't pointing the gun and had his hand near the trigger. The victim perp should thank God it was only a .22.

I'll bet the majikthise are really creaming over this one. I wonder if Beck will have anything to say?

Michelle's Law goes into effect Friday

...and teenagers are already discussing the problems and the lack of justice, as well they should. And Debbie and Ray Sanderbeck, whose private law this is, should just go to Hell. But if they did, they'd be lobbying for stupid laws there, and I have family in Michigan.

Cleveland Council paints with a broad brush

...or a wide nozzle. The Safety Committee has proposed that sale of spray paint be banned to minors, unless accompanied by an adult. Mike Polensek's argument seems to be that other cities have such a law. He might have asked whether those laws were working, whether Toledo is now a clean, graffiti-free city, before harassing local businessmen who are harassed enough.

I'm real sympathetic to the impulse. I'm really tired of being sold tagging as "urban art". I've seen some fairly complex stuff. But it's art like rap is music. And I have a big issue about other people's property being worked with. But I'm not sure law is the right approach. It's a violation of the rights of good kids who use paint legitimately, and I've seen no evidence that it would limit graffiti. Cleveland's problem is too many laws combined with too much lawlessness, and those factors seem to grow in tandem.

Daylight Savings saves nothing

The Dark-n-Dreary Morning Act of 2006 has gone into effect, and the power companies have observed what the Energy Department predicted: that there is no measurable savings in energy use. There was some increased energy waste: the energy of programmers who had to fix computers' clocks to fit Congress' whim. But at least our Leaders were seen to have been "doing something". I'd like to see the originators of this bill really do allow themselves to be burned for energy.