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

Oh boy, the Joo-haters just found my blog!

Apparently, sometime during the past 24 hours, a certain group of people have found this post and posted comments. Supposedly the link came from, but I didn't find it over there (not that I spent a huge time looking). Ah, what to do? Shall I approve the posts, edit them, or what? Well, I'll take on the substantive one, from appollonian:

This above-noted "Libertarian" is just another moralist-Pharisaist, most probably Jew, not worthy of any serious notation/response

But you're responding, aren't you? Do you always do things unworthy of das Herrenvolk? For the record, even though with my beard and curly hair I have passed for Jewish (particularly among Lubavitchers and anti-Semitic African-Americans), my ancestors for as far back as I am aware have been Gentile. I can't absolutely rule out being Jewish under a "one drop rule", but then, neither can you.

For again, obvious problem for original blog entry/post is all the brainless question-begging and presumption: WHAT IS MORAL?--and there is no basis, hence definition, but as for Immanuel Kant, "hey, we just feel like we want there to be 'morality,' so therefore we declare not only 'morality' to exist, but we think it's so cool be be 'moral' as we feel that 'space-kadet glow' as we pretend to 'moralism.'" It just makes me feel so "good" and "cool," u see, as I pretend to be "moral"--especially in everyone elses' faces--so these people imagine unto themselves. Moralists are just people with inferiority complex--moralism then makes them feel good, see.

OK. You don't believe that morality exists. Then I guess it's OK with you for me to use you for target practice. After all, it's just my desires against yours.

(2) "Rights" are properly matter of social contract and agreement--as so excellently and definitively laid down by Thomas Hobbes in "Leviathan." Jews then never had any "rights" in Germany (or anywhere), being mere recipients of German charity, the poor German volk too unwitting of Jew anti-humanity.
If rights are contractual, they don't exist, except as privileges; they can be renegotiated at the drop of a trigger. And even if they are contractual, then Jews would have had rights in Israel, as they could contract for them there. Fortunately, you realize that you can't cut Jews out of human rights unless you first cut them out of humanity. That exposes your game.
So much for Jews, anti-human filth, scum, and the murderers of Christ, who affirm such Christ murder in their filthy book, Talmud.
So why would they kill one of their own?
CONCLUSION: Thus we see the empty arguments of original poster falling like confetti through the air--as there's no substance whatsover, the argument consisting of nothing more than subjectivistic wishful thinking (as regarding "moralism")

Not at all. Basically, the only hit you scored on my argument is the claim that morality has no objective existence (a claim that 99.9% of humanity soundly rejects). Let's accept that argument for a moment, and rephrase my main point: Would you like it if thugs with guns forced you into a boxcar and took you to another home? Did Hitler have benign intent toward the Jews? If not, how relevant is the actual scale and success of the Endlosung to its moral evaluation?

Terrorist caught with his pants down.

Terror leader arrested having car sex near Arafat's grave

Israeli forces raid jeep of longtime wanted militant caught in compromising position

This is beyond comment, I think.

Corzine tells the truth

"I'm New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, and I should be dead."

Finally, a policians tells the truth. I agree: he should be dead.

We knew this was going to happen. And if he restricts it to 30 second PSAs, it's not necessarily a bad thing. I know it's too much to ask for a PSA that says, "Wear your seatbelt, don't drive 91 miles per hour, and don't read text messages from your wife's paramour while driving." I think that would dilute the message. Though you can't dilute the message of the crip hobbling out of his chair in crutches.

But of course that's not all that's happening:

Also this week, New Jersey's law enforcement authorities launched their largest ever seat-belt compliance campaign. Seat- belt violations are a primary offense in New Jersey, which means police can stop and issue tickets to drivers and front-seat passengers solely for not buckling up.

While seat-belt use in New Jersey is at an all-time peak of 90 percent, one of the highest rates in the U.S., ``we must continue to strive for 100 percent compliance,'' Pam Fischer, director of the state's division of highway traffic safety, said in a statement announcing a ``Click it or Ticket'' campaign.

Thanks to Taranto.

"Good Riddance Attention Whore" the title of Cindy Sheehan's retirement letter.

A few quotes and comments:

The first conclusion is that I was the darling of the so-called left as long as I limited my protests to George Bush and the Republican Party. Of course, I was slandered and libeled by the right as a "tool" of the Democratic Party....

However, when I started to hold the Democratic Party to the same standards that I held the Republican Party, support for my cause started to erode and the "left" started labeling me with the same slurs that the right used.

Though she never admits it, this is proof that in fact she was the tool of the Left. Nobody keeps around a tool that doesn't do the job or that is unsafe to use. And since the job was always to hurt the Republicans, and Sheehan started hurting the Democrats, they pulled the money plug. Later, she argues about the war issue not being partisan, yet she says:

I don’t see party affiliation or nationality when I look at a person, I see that person’s heart. If someone looks, dresses, acts, talks and votes like a Republican, then why do they deserve support just because he/she calls him/herself a Democrat?

So...Republicans bad, Democrats good, Bolivarian Revolutionaries even better?
Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives.

That's sadly true.
Good-bye America are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can’t make you be that country unless you want it.

You can't cuddle with Commies like Hugo Chavez or their ideological cousins back home, and be accepted by any self-respecting working individual. Since Cindy really was just a tool, she couldn't keep her message focused on the war. All of her supporting constituencies had to get their licks in, so it became about the Left as a whole, and Cindy in particular, instead of the war.

I feel a little sorry for her. I understand activist burnout, though I've never understood folks who throw the rest of their lives away like she did. What she doesn't admit in this letter, though she comes close, is that her whole run was ineffective. Since she did no "good", then she did the country no harm, and maybe we should all let her go in peace

Burger Booger wars

Jack in the Box is being sued by Carl's Jr. for a puerile set of ads which imply that Carl's Black Angus is really Black Anus.

Given that Jack in the Box's chief claim to fame is spreading E. coli, that takes some stones.

The land of bad teeth

Britain has a reputation for people with bad teeth. This may not be only because of British cuisine, but rather a government construct:

The Government accused dentists of putting profit "before patient care" and called for an investigation.

But dentists' leaders said a new contract meant practices were given the same fee for treating people who needed one filling as for people who needed 11. Under the system, dentists are paid for "units" of activity worth between £14 and £30 and are given a set target to reach.

Practitioners said yesterday that people who require lots of fillings and repeat visits took up extra time, but they did not bring in extra money because they counted for the same number of units as people with good teeth.

John Chope, a spokesman for the Dental Practitioners' Association and a dentist in Holdsworthy, north Devon, said: "We have been forced into an impossible position. If you spend a lot of time treating one patient who needs a lot of work, you are not treating the other patients who need maintenance work.

"If you don't treat the patients who need maintenance, you miss the Government target for the year and get fined. You could even be told that you have broken your contract and refused another."

So, let's see: if you treat the patient whose mouth looks like, er, mine, you don't make any more money, and you're penalized for not moving enough bodies through the door. And this is called "putting profits before patients"? And this is the kind of health care system Hillary wants?

Green not clean, and blood for oil

Evidently many of the new environmentally-friendly clothes washers don't get your clothes clean unless you run them through twice, which negates the purpose (sort of like the 1st-generation low-water toilets, which often needed to be flushed multiple times). My parents recently got a new washer and had to jimmy something inside because it would not provide hot water on the hot cycle.

The issue here is not being ecological (which is as hard to argue against as motherhood and apple pie), but government mandates that do not and cannot consider individual needs and desires.

Consider this comment. from the guy who is urging people to send their dirty underweat to the Department of Energy as a protest (comment 16 under the link above):

Several commenters attack the proposition that CAFE (the federal automotive fuel economy standards) kill people as right-wing propaganda. In fact, that proposition is supported by the National Academy of Sciences’ 2002 report on the program. As summarized in its Finding 2, vehicle downsizing, some which was due to CAFE, contributed to 1,300 to 2,600 deaths in one representative year. 3#pagetop
Since CAFE has been on the books for several decades, its cumulative death toll is staggering. But what’s really remarkable is that, to my knowledge, no advocate of CAFE has ever admitted that it’s ever killed anyone. Meanwhile Congress is moving to make it even more stringent and thus deadlier. In short, we’ve sort of got an escalating “blood for oil” war, only it’s being waged on American civilians by people who aren’t candid enough to admit that lives are at stake.

Gods, even the left is trading blood for oil!

The child will not sleep

We had a bit of a time getting granddaughter Madison to bed Thursday night. She's been doing this "I want my mommy" thing when she sleeps over here. Once or twice, early on, it got indulged, but not now with the price of gas etc. We made her sleep the last time she was over, but no, she had to pull this "I'm scared...I want to sleep with you...I miss my mommy (fake tears), I miss my sisters." I tried to use logic. "Hey if you go to sleep, you won't miss your mommy any more." This was a bit beyond her.

Then she started a new tack: "My vagina burns". I guess it's a generational thing, but I'm a little creeped out by a 5 year old saying "vagina, " though I suppose it's better than lot of other words. Besides, it was technically inaccurate...if she'd been burning inside, we'd be seeing a doctor, and then probably the police. But I guess her crotch was red, so Gramma put some bag balm on it. Then she was back to the mommy thing. She'd been put down, and then she came in to Gramma's side of the bed. I could tell Rusty was weakening and it was time for the Jo Frost treatment and Grampa to the rescue. I picked her up, said, "Good night pumpkin" and put her in bed. She tried it once more but I'd closed the door. "Waaaa....whimper....SNORE"....mission accomplished. So I can only wonder how she's dealing with the scary dark at camp, where she is now with Gramma and Sara. I'm sure I'll hear a report later today.

Scraping the bottom of the cannibal pot

When there's no money to feed (let alone pay) the army and the youth thugs who are propping up the government, you know the end is near. It's likely to be messy,with soldiers living off the land, to the extent that there's anything on the land to live on. But for the people of Zimbabwe, sooner will be better than later. It was Claire Wolfe Time there a long time ago.

Note: "cannibal pot" is a meme of Billy Beck. You're eating from it too. I have no intent to imply that some races are more inclined to anthrophagy than others, especially given that the man who brought cannibalism to its greatest refinement was a German economic theorist resident in London.

5th grade band concert

I had to leave work early to go to my granddaughter's first (and last?) band concert. After all, her own mother wasn't coming because she "hates crowds". Well, so do I; suck it up. I have a cartoon on my office door, captioned "Fun with Venn diagrams", in which the intersection of "cute" and "painful" is "grade school music concert". Actually it wasn't painful. Partly, that was because it was short (half hour), there was a paucity of saxophones, and most of the music was, at least by intent, in unison. I found it interesting to notice how much music could be made from 3 notes, how various familiar tunes were orchotomised to fit technical limitations, the Scelsi-like microtonal harmonizations...all the technical stuff. Lots of kids gave little intros to the songs. Sara was the best announcer, as well as being best dressed.

Afterwards, she returned her cornet to me; she's taking general music in middle school next year. I was somewhat disappointed, but probably got points by affirming that, as an adult-in-training, it was a decision she was capable of making. If I'd been a parent rather than a grandparent, I might have urged her to stick it out, but then, I would have been more involved and it might not have come to that. Her real love is singing, which she does quite well, and she's learned something in band. I don't have an issue really about her doing music. But the girl needs to excel at something and to claim her power, and neither her mom nor stepmom really provide a culture of excellence.

Afterwards we had Madison (grandgirl #2), who was full of all kinds of difficult-to-answer questions like "Are soldiers bad?" and "Is the sun yellow all the way through?" She doesn't get talked down to by Grampa...

House votes for energy shortages

Rep. Bart Stupak, aka "Stupe from da Yoop", has led his colleagues in the charge to save us from the eevul oil price-gougers...without quite defining what constitutes price-gouging. That's very convenient, as it means that enforcement can be reserved for very special Enemies of the People, while fear rules the rest.

Most of my campus readership (assuming I have a campus readership) was not yet born the last time this little stunt was tried. The year was 1973, the tyrant-du-jour was Richard Milhous Nixon, who on March 6 imposed price controls on oil and gas as OPEC began its production cuts, and we saw gas go from 30¢ or so to a whole dollar.

For example, when President Jimmy Carter announced in 1980 that his administration was beginning a phased decontrol of oil prices, leftist groups such as the Citizen/Labor Energy Coalition predicted that by 1990, crude oil prices would rise to nearly $600 a barrel, a prediction repeated by a straight-faced mainstream news media. (Before Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in the summer of 1990, oil prices stood at about $18 a barrel, so the "energy experts" were off by only $582.)

All of this brings us back to Hawaii's pricing scheme, but one must keep something in mind. This was pretty much the same policy that the U.S. government followed back in the 1970s when it controlled prices at domestic wellheads, and at the pump. Any reader who was driving a car during that decade can remember the chaos that incurred, especially whenever there was turmoil overseas.

The government's logic went like this: if we keep the price at the wellhead low, then the savings will be passed on to consumers. However, by placing price controls on crude oil, the government managed to do two things. First, it created shortages of crude oil, as producers saw no incentive to take many risks to drill for more oil. (Yes, the government claimed it had "incentives" built into its policies, but these were the usual byzantine sets of bureaucratic incentives that had no basis in economic reality.) Second, it drove producers to purchase the more available crude oil that was made available from the Middle East. For all of the talk of "dependence" upon "foreign oil," government policies were the driving force in encouraging oil companies to look overseas for supplies of crude.

Policies guiding the pump price were just as bad. Using the logic of "Classical" economics, the government figured that if it took about a month for crude oil after it was pumped from the ground actually to find its way into a vehicle, then pump prices could not increase until a month or so after crude prices went up. Thus, consumers, anticipating price increases, went on "buy now" binges, which quickly used up existing supplies, causing gas lines and the infamous "out of gas" signs that littered gas stations.

Now, if one gas station charges too much, I go elsewhere. If everyone overcharges, well, I have less money in my pocket. What happens if there's a gas shortage? I can't get to work, I lose my job, and I have NO money. Clearly, if price gouging means I can get gas I desperately need, it's a good thing.

And the penalties on this thing are ridiculous. $2 million and 10 years for some gas station owner somewhere? Mao would never have treated an Enemy of the People so inefficiently. Might as well just shoot them and charge the family for the bullet.

John Stossel takes on ethanol

Surely, ethanol must be good for something. And here we finally have a fact. It is good for something -- or at least someone: corn farmers and processors of ethanol, such as Archer Daniels Midland, the big food processor known for its savvy at getting subsidies out of the taxpayers.

And it's good for vote-hungry presidential hopefuls. Iowa is a key state in the presidential-nomination sweepstakes, and we all know what they grow in Iowa. Sen. Clinton voted against ethanol 17 times until she started running for president. Coincidence?

"It's no mystery that people who want to be president support the corn ethanol program," Taylor says. "If you're not willing to sacrifice children to the corn god, you will not get out of the Iowa primary with more than one percent of the vote, Right now the closest thing we have to a state religion in the United States isn't Christianity. It's corn."

It's a choice between cheap meat and cheap fuel...or more likely given government involvement, both being expensive.

Strickland refuses to sign strip bill

Good for him! Yes, he should have vetoed it as unconstitutional, but there was a veto-proof majority, and you pick your battles. It's the legislature that lacked guts:

The Legislature took up the bill after a group called Citizens for Community Values collected enough signatures to require lawmakers to consider it. If the Legislature had failed to act or passed a bill that did not satisfy the Cincinnati-based group, their members could have collected more signatures to put it before voters in November.
I'd have been for making them collect the umpteen thousand signatures and letting the voters have their say. I really don't think that your average citizen has the hardon about strip clubs that this pervert does.

CAFOs and zoning

I'm of two minds on this law. On one hand, I do not think it possible to operate a CAFO without it being a problem for the neighbors. You just can't have that many animals on that little land and not have stenches, flies, groundwater contamination. OTOH, it's DeHaan's land. I despise zoning in general, and laws aimed at specific people. The ultimate solution, I suppose, would be for people to quit buying cheap filthy milk, but that isn't going to happen.

Little Green Footballs takes the heat

...for rigging their online poll by excluding Ron Paul. Unfortunately, not everyone was as reasonable as I was. So we all got a big Eff You from the Big Bad Pajamasmedia Player, who has now degenerated into a Usenet-worthy troll. Hey, it's your website; if you want to shoot yourself in the head with it, be my guest.

Will the last one out of Palestine please turn off the lights?

Apparently, the ambitious young are doing what they always do when confronted with a massively incompetent government and no chance to advance themselves: voting with their feet. And the Mufti of Jerusalem isn't having it:

"Based on [the ruling of the prophet Muhammed and his friends], emigration from the blessed lands to live permanently in other countries is not permitted in terms of religious law. The people living in these areas must remain in their places of residence, and not leave them to infiltrators and conquerors, and they will thus perform an act of honor, and will be a support for the Al-Aqsa mosque... and will merit the good tiding of the prophet...

If they had rule of law in the territories of the PA, they probably wouldn't need rule-of-mullah.

The Mugabe of Venezuela

URACHICHE, Venezuela — The squatters arrive before dawn with machetes and rifles, surround the well-ordered rows of sugar cane and threaten to kill anyone who interferes. Then they light a match to the crops and declare the land their own....

The government says the goal of the nationwide resettlement is to make better use of idle land and to make Venezuela less dependent on food imports.

You'd think that Hugo would look at how well this plan worked in Rhodesia Zimbabwe. Looks like we'll have another Oil for Food program Real Soon Now...assuming that the oil wells are still pumping by then.

Little Green Footballs sends Ron Paul to the showers

Over at little green footballs they've had enough of Ron Paul.

I’m going to be removing Ron Paul’s name from any further LGF straw polls, because his supporters are deliberately spamming our polls to make it appear as if Paul has more support than he does....

They aren’t “cheating,” as in voting multiple times, but they have sent out emails and posted the link to our poll at several spots on the web, urging people to go vote for Paul. The end result is the same—the poll results are skewed, and it’s not an accurate measure.

Even if they weren’t doing this pathetic maneuver to artificially pump up Paul’s support, I’d very seriously consider removing him anyway, because I found his remarks last night about 9/11 insulting and dangerous, and highly offensive. But make no mistake, he’s not being removed simply because I disagree with him—he’s off the LGF poll because I don’t want my site being used to falsely inflate his popularity.

This is just pathetic.
If somebody supports Paul and votes for him, he's not "spamming a poll", he's expressing support. Now, granted, the people expressing support may not be Republicans, and the only poll that counts is your own state primary. But is lgf going to remove any other candidate whose supporters are caught trying to pump up the numbers? Everybody does that on Internet polls, and if a candidate doesn't, he's clearly too stupid to be President. What he's doing here is trying to define the terms of the debate...which is what bloggers do, after all. But you can do that with reason, or you can do that by silencing opposing viewpoints. And it strikes me that there's a real hit in credibility to those who do the latter. If Paul is indeed a "nut", that case can be made by a rational appeal to foreign policy priorities, or to the DSM IV. But if a "nut" gets that much support, there there are a lot of nuts in the country, and we live in a system of representative government. Or are the Pajamasmedia neocon bloggers sour on democracy these days?

And anyone who would link to Eric Dondero's self-serving posturing (except for me, that is :-) )has no credibility anyway.

I'd post this there in the comments, but registration is what is he afraid of?

DeBose converts to CCW

I'm really glad that State Rep. Michael DeBose chose not to be a victim, and that he is choosing to be even less a victim in the future. But I really have to wonder what went on in his head when he cast his anti-CCW votes. Was it the Reverend asking "What would Jesus do?" and conveniently forgetting that what Jesus did was tell his disciples to buy a sword? Or was it a failure of imagination? Could he really not think of himself in the position of being a victim of violent crime? And if he couldn't vote on the basis of such a stark, clear, easy-to-visualize issue, what makes him think that any other vote he's ever cast is reasonable and valid?

And while we're imagining, what if he'd had a gun and used it? What would have happened to his political career?

The devil's minions...

...are listed here.

Classic devils include:
Angel -- Arte Nova -- BMG Classics -- Calliope -- Catalyst -- Classics for Pleasure -- EMI Classics -- Seraphim -- Virgin -- Columbia -- Conifer -- Cypress -- Decca -- DGG -- Delos -- Denon -- Editio Classica -- EMI -- Erato -- Finlandia -- Melodiya -- Naive -- Nimbus -- Nonesuch -- Philips -- RCA Victor -- Seon -- Sony Classical -- Teldec -- Universal -- Warner Classics

There may be more...these are the labels I recognize.

Many students, doing hard time

Alberto Gonzales and the rest of the Bush administration are supporting the Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2007, which would:

* Criminalize "attempting" to infringe copyright. Federal law currently punishes not-for-profit copyright infringement with between 1 and 10 years in prison, but there has to be actual infringement that takes place. The IPPA would eliminate that requirement. (The Justice Department's summary of the legislation says: "It is a general tenet of the criminal law that those who attempt to commit a crime but do not complete it are as morally culpable as those who succeed in doing so.")

* Create a new crime of life imprisonment for using pirated software. Anyone using counterfeit products who "recklessly causes or attempts to cause death" can be imprisoned for life. During a conference call, Justice Department officials gave the example of a hospital using pirated software instead of paying for it.

* Permit more wiretaps for piracy investigations. Wiretaps would be authorized for investigations of Americans who are "attempting" to infringe copyrights.

* Allow computers to be seized more readily. Specifically, property such as a PC "intended to be used in any manner" to commit a copyright crime would be subject to forfeiture, including civil asset forfeiture. Civil asset forfeiture has become popular among police agencies in drug cases as a way to gain additional revenue, and it is problematic and controversial.

* Increase penalties for violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's anticircumvention regulations. Criminal violations are currently punished by jail times of up to 10 years and fines of up to $1 million. The IPPA would add forfeiture penalties.

* Add penalties for "intended" copyright crimes. Certain copyright crimes currently require someone to commit the "distribution, including by electronic means, during any 180-day period of at least 10 copies" valued at more than $2,500. The IPPA would insert a new prohibition: actions that were "intended to consist of" distribution.

* Require Homeland Security to alert the Recording Industry Association of America. That would happen when CDs with "unauthorized fixations of the sounds, or sounds and images, of a live musical performance" are attempted to be imported. Neither the Motion Picture Association of America nor the Business Software Alliance (nor any other copyright holder, such as photographers, playwrights or news organizations, for that matter) would qualify for this kind of special treatment.

OK, this is war. Life for piracy? I don't think so. It's time for some radical steps:
1. As far as possible, use only open-source software.
2. Boycott the recording industry and any label which is a member of RIAA. Trade live recordings, small labels, use alternatives like Magnatune.
3. Boycott the entertainment industry. No theaters, no movie rentals. Read BOOKS, damnit. Yes, they're IP too, but no sane person copies an entire book.

If we're going to be treated like the entertainment industry's cash cow, then we should quit giving milk.

Food fight!

From Toledo, the laugh capital of Ohio, comes this charming story about a Mother's Day outing at Golden Corral that went badly awry. The tale suggests a few words of advice:

1. To Sylvia Harris: when your child is acting like an animal and somebody says so, it is not a racial slur, no matter what the color of the speaker is. White people say that white kids are acting like animals, when they do. If you don't like it, train your children to not act like animals.

2. To Christine Lewandowski: I want to give you the benefit of the doubt on the knife thing, just because it's not typical behavior for 56 year old women -- though AYCE restaurants don't attract the classiest clientele. But when you're pissed off, put your knife down instead of gesticulating with it, because other people are going to look on it as a threat. Or did you really think you needed a knife to confront a young black woman, because you assumed she'd be armed? Don't talk big shit about your knife, and don't discipline other people's children, no matter how desperately they need it -- and don't scream at them when what they need is a calm potch on the heinie. Modeling irrational behavior is not the way to elicit rational behavior.

3. To Golden Corral: When a customer can't control her children, you move the offending party rather than those complaining. If they get pissed off and leave, they weren't the kind of customers you need.

4. To Stephen Robinson: a man does not countenence 90 year old ladies getting punched.

Farm report

Until last night, everything was going just perfectly at Black Water Farm. The garden was going in ahead of schedule, the trees we planted were doing well, lots of fruit set on trees and bushes (and, apparently, our first grapes). It's been dry, but that's far better than last year.

We're looking at a couple of major projects. One is to alter our fencing to provide a secure pasture for goats. We need to set up a gate and build a back and side fence to protect the garden and orchard. The other is opening up a new plot for field crops. I was out yesterday with the tractor and plow. The new plot is way too big to break with a tiller, but too small for a plow. I had to keep lifting the plow and turning around. No weights on the front wheels, and inexperienced plowman, no disk; it wasn't pretty. Now I have a decent patch covered with slabs of sod that my back blade won't remove, that I'll doubtless carry off by hand.

As for last night? First, there was frost. Not a biggie; I figure I have maybe 6 plants I could have lost. Most are in Wall-o-waters. I'll find out when I get home. Worse, something hit the pullet coop and killed most of them. It sounds like a weasel, from the description my wife gave. Looks like I'll be ordering more chicks tonight. Rusty picked up a few Araucanas.

No tickee, no shirtee

Kansas and Missouri are a little hesitant to provide tax refunds to people without Social Security numbers.

Critics say it's a double standard for states to accept income tax payments from illegal immigrants, but not provide refunds when there has been an overpayment.

"Either you accept all of the payments and (give the) refund, or you return everything," said Maria Aranda, who helps immigrants file taxes at the social service agency El Centro Inc. "To me, it's either all or none. You can't have it both ways."

Well, not really. The state issues refunds directly and is thus responsible, while a third party collects steals taxes for the state. Anyway, if they shouldn't have taxes collected, then they also shouldn't get the goodies the taxes pay for.

I'm all for the refunds being given as long as they're given in kind: a one-way bus ticket back across the border.

OH: a great place to drive.

Where else but in Ohio can you blow all zeroes on a breathalyzer and still be charged with drunk driving? Where else do they set up roadblocks by the barrio on Cinco de Mayo "because it's a holiday and people drink", but they get unlicenced drivers instead of drunks? I think I'll stay home this weekend.

A vote for Satan

Some Bible-thumper named Bill Keller (who by the looks of the picture goes to John Edwards' hairdresser) has managed to make Al Sharpton look like a moderate statesman concerning Mitt Romney:

"If you vote for Mitt Romney, you are voting for Satan!" he writes in his daily devotional to be sent out to 2.4 million e-mail subscribers tomorrow.

I guess Mitt now has a lock on the death-metal vote.
"For the nearly 200 years this cult has been in existence they have strived for mainstream acceptance. They are the most devious of all the cults since they have always tried to portray themselves as 'just another Christian group' when in fact, they are no more Christian than a Muslim is! Their deception starts with their name, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Sounds like a Christian church doesn't it? Some Mormons have recently changed their name to simply Community of Christ to disguise even better who they are in an attempt to lure people in."

OK..but RLDS/CofC have always resented the title "Mormon".
There is no excuse, no justification for supporting and voting for a man who will be used by satan to lead the souls of millions into the eternal flames of hell!"

I guess John, Son of Cain is right out too, then.
By the sounds of it, this fruitcake would vote for Hillary before Romney...which proves how mentally disturbed the Religious Right is.

VA legislature draws down on Bloomberg

RICHMOND, May 9 -- Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell is warning New York to stop, by the summer, sending private agents into Virginia to look for illegal gun sales, saying that the agents could face legal action.

Because of a Virginia law that goes into effect in July, New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (R) and his agents could be charged with a felony if they continue to target Virginia gun dealers with undercover sting operations, McDonnell said.

Gotta love it. Columbus, are you listening?

Mormonism: not so simple?

Speedzzter thinks that I'm being a bit simplistic on the Romney thing.

Well, no. To take his points in order:
1. As my mother would say, it was mighty white of Rev. Sharpton to allow that, yes, Mitt believes in God.

2. Is any criticism of Mormonism bigotry?

Speedzzter begins by submitting a bunch of Christian apologetics dedicated to differentiating Mormonism from Christianity. I don't believe that an objective student of world religions would come to the same conclusion. If this is "criticism" of Mormonism, it is so only because it assumes orthodox Christianity as the measure of truth...which is fine for the Christian, but is irrelevant at best to the secular world of politics. Hoekema on cults is drawing a technical distinction which is theologically valid, but ignores the fact that in American English "cult" means, pretty much, "any religion I don't approve of."

Then we have a discussion of Reynolds v. U.S., which is somewhat more substantive. Reynolds differentiates between beliefs and actions, in regards to religious freedom. In the specific case, it was rather broader than I would be about what is "in violation of social duties or subversive of good order". Most arguments against polygamy (and gay marriage!) are religion-based and in fact constitute an establishment of religion. One could argue that polygamy, if widely practiced, would create large number of unmarried males, which would clearly be socially disruptive. This would be an acceptable secular reason to ban legal recognition of it, though freedom of association means that people can and will have relations with whom they please.

Sharpton's critique was that, since Mormons accepted a clearly racist doctrine during the lifetime of Mitt Romney, Romney must have been either a racist or a heretic. What makes this bigoted is the assumption that an individual acts on a group identity. It would have been more substantive to argue from Romney's record in office whether he's a racist, and leave the LDS out of it. It's also valid to argue that Mormon racism is a theological problem. The theology might lead people to be prejudiced, but doesn't necessarily mean they are so. Similarly, it is not bigotry to examine the violence inherent in the Koran, but one can't assume that any individual Moslem actually believes that; I suspect that most Moslems are as heretical as most Christians. So my answer to speedzzter would be, "Criticism of Mormonism is not bigotry; criticism of people on the basis of their stated religious belief system is bigotry."

3. Is Romney's situation similar to that of JFK?
Speedzzter's argument in support of this is basically that Catholics are Christians and Mormons aren't. Not only is this argument incompatible with Article VI/3 of the Constitution, but it's historically inaccurate. The fear about Kennedy was that he would take orders from Rome; nobody has suggested that Romney would take orders from Salt Lake City. Given that few Catholic Democrats are taking orders from Rome regarding abortion, it seems that the fear was misplaced.

Disclaimer: the Quicks to whom I am related, with the exception of my paternal grandfather and his spouse and descendants, are generally members of the Community of Christ (formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). However, both my father and I were brought up as Missouri Synod Lutherans.

Sharpton: Southern Baptists are atheists

The fight between Mitt Romney and Al Sharpton is heating up. It began Monday when Sharpton said, to a reference by Christoper Hitchens about Romney, that "Those that really believe in God will defeat him anyway.", implying that Mormons DON'T really believe in God (I thought it was Mormons' extra beliefs that the rest of Christendom had a problem with.) When Romney called Sharpton the bigot he was (and is), Sharpton fired back:

He should explain to Americans whether he believed for half his life that God created people unequally," Sharpton said. "He needs to come clean and say what he believed and when he believed it."

A fair enough question, I guess. But then he said:

"Fine, you take your shot at Sharpton, but now you got to answer the question. If you have a church built on racial discrimination, then I do not believe you are a true believer in God."

Sharpton joined the Baptist Church in 1994, a church which split in 1845 over the issue of slavery. Granted, he is not a Southern Baptist. But since the Southern Baptist Convention was historically built on racial discrimination (even though they have repented, as the Mormons have), isn't Al saying that his Baptist brethren are not true believers in God?

"Now you got to answer the question", Al: are Southern Baptists atheists, pagans ("false" believers in God) or Christians?

NJ State Police act like Mafiosi

NJ state troopers have had their widdle feelings hurt by media treatment of their role in Corzine-gate. So on one of their blog sites, troopers have been threatening a "ticket blitz". The Jersey Guys of WKXW (Craig Carton and Ray Rossi) made this public, and the president of the police union, David Jones, retaliated by disclosing Carton's home address and plate number. The superintendent of state police has muzzled Jones. But

Mr. Carton and Mr. Rossi dedicated their show yesterday to a discussion of their fight with Mr. Jones, whom they referred to repeatedly as a “lunatic” who had caused them to fear for the safety of their families. Mr. Carton said that he had hired “round-the-clock” protection.

“I don’t want money,” Mr. Carton said. “I want a guarantee that my family is safe.”

Some juicy quotes from the trooper's blog are here. And apparently Rasinski was reading a text message on his Blackberry or a cell phone at the time of the crash.

A Berkeley Heights police sergeant was quoted in the Star-Ledger of Newark yesterday saying he sent an e-mail shortly before the crash to Trooper Robert Rasinski, confronting him over having a two-year affair with his wife, Susan. He said he enclosed a family photo as an attachment.

So...these guys think they can speed, not enforce the law for the high and mighty, overenforce the law on everyone else, drive while distracted, screw other people's wives. And when people call them on acting like bullies, their answer act like bullies. Yeah, that's real persuasive. So tell us again why we should respect the law, when those who enforce it show themselves to be utterly disrespectable.

"Goddam piece of paper..."

No, not George W. (and the source of that quote has low credibility) but Philadelphia City Council, which has decided that in spite of the Pennsylvania constitution, it can pass local firearms laws - AND is suing for the right to do so, a suit which has been on hold for 3 years because they couldn't find a lawyer dumb enough to take it. The supporters of the law don't sound so bright either:

"It's utterly ridiculous where we are right now. It's an aberration when somebody doesn't get killed," Clarke said. "We can't wait any longer."

I'll bet there are hundreds of thousands of Filthadelphians who are not-killed every day -- which makes it not terribly aberrant.

I'm just waiting for the first prosecution under these laws -- and hope it's somebody not reliant on a public defender. Jury nullification, here we come!

Thanks to rightwingprof.

"We don't own anything here"

Start ripping and sharing those Sheryl Crow mp3s. She just gave you permission.

Gay Cold Warrior

A board member for Equality California has come out swinging at the Bible-based Capitol Resource Institute, which works on behalf of family and biblical values in California, especially among its lawmakers.

"If you continue your efforts, we will BURY you," said an e-mail from Ben Patrick Johnson, to his "colleagues" at the CRI, according to a statement from the Christian organization.

I'm no fan of Bible-thumpers. But given who said "we will bury you" first, and how that ultimately turned out, Mr. Johnson might want to rephrase that.

Robbing Lincoln's grave

Here's an interesting story about the 1876 plot to snatch Abraham Lenin's Lincoln's body and hold it for ransom.

I wonder if anyone has tried to take "the other Lincoln" out of his pickle jar on Red Square?

Resolution for Ron and Donna

In a truly heroic effort, Donna called every pawn shop in Cleveland, and the miracle we've all hoped for has actually happened: all four of our stolen instruments were in a pawn shop on East 152nd Street. We made a 750-mile mad dash of a road trip from New York back to Cleveland, where we spent an entire day shuttling to and fro in Collinwood, filling out paperwork and handing over large sums of cash to bureaucrats, which ultimately bought us the right to BUY our instruments back from the pawnbroker. They fairly leapt into Ron's arms. Two of the lutes are in fine - if indignant - condition but Ron's beloved Lundberg 8-course lute in G seems to have suffered some hard knocks and we'll have to go about finding a luthier who can repair it while we wring our hands in angst at the very thought.... Our car was also recovered, in much worse condition than the lutes, alas. It was discovered by the East Cleveland police, abandoned at East 131st and Eddy Road, with a burned out clutch and a completely trashed interior full of drug paraphernalia. We won't know the full extent of the mechanical damage for a few days yet, but it looks pretty bad. There were a few items of clothing and even a little music left inside, but mostly garbage and a few possessions belonging to other people who'd evidently been robbed by the same character. Everything else has been lost.

...Your kind words have restored our faith in humanity, and your financial contributions literally bought the instruments back for us, since neither the underworld, the impound lots, the towing companies, nor the East Cleveland police department will accept credit cards or out-of-state checks.

A relatively happy ending, which could have been happier had government done what government was established to do.

Crime and race

I woke up early this morning, with some comments on the Mignarda story annoying me. A little history: When I came to Cleveland in autumn of 1986, I wanted to live near University Circle, and I discovered that, in that area, it would cost me $50 a month for the privilege of living with white people, and I didn't think it was worth it. So I integrated an apartment building on Lamont Ave. at the end of E. 97th. It was owned by a lawyer in the Statler office building, and the building manager was named Floy Roach. I figured that any landlord who would hire a guy named Roach to manage his building had to be cool; I was wrong. To be fair, I wasn't a model tenant either as I didn't always have the rent on time, and after 8 months I decamped for cheaper digs in Tremont. (Savor that phrase, "cheaper digs in Tremont", a $135/mo. upstairs 1BR. It was a different real estate market then.) The building had seen better days then, and hasn't existed for 5 years or so.

I didn't have any problems in that neighborhood. I was wary, but didn't let it decrease my mobility. Maybe it wasn't such a bad neighborhood; Andre, who lived across the street, wouldn't go 5-6 blocks closer to downtown because, "theyse too many n-----s down there". And, driving a beater car and doing industrial work, I fit in. The only incident, if you could call it that, happened after I got a job for Sears peddling Discover cards. I came home one night in jacket and tie, and these two voluble and volatile men tried to get me to buy this huge mirror they had strapped to the top of their car. I calmly made it clear that I wasn't interested, and they went on their way. And after I had decided to move, I woke one morning to snoring heard from my kitchen...somebody had fallen asleep in the stairwell.

Now, for whatever reason, people left me alone...which is what I expect of my fellow citizens. Nobody bolted to reality can deny that some neighborhoods are riskier, that even for a black man there can be "too many n-----s". But in this case, we're talking about a block housing some professionals, just a couple blocks off the Circle. There's a fine line between recognizing realities about crime in America, and the "soft bigotry of low expectations". I have a right to walk my streets without fear of crime...and if the police can't create safety, then citizens have to. And if citizens have to create safety, then why have police to begin with? In any case, no criminal should getd a pass because of race, and no victim should get blame for doing something perfectly normal.

Free T-shirt idea

Thanks to Humberto Fontova, I got a great idea for a T-shirt. But I'm not an artist at all, not even in the minimal sense this would require, and I'm way busy. So if any of you want to cash in at CafePress, be my guest.

If Che...
[image of Che Guevara]

...why not Cho?
[image of Cho Seung-Hui]

"But..." one might argue, "...they're totally different people." That's right. One was a mass murderer, and the other was a Virginia Tech student.

Google shareholders say: don't be evil

Next week, Google shareholders will vote on a proposal requiring the company to legally resist government censorship efforts. Ironically (since it's not a city noted for freedom), the proposal was submitted by New York City's Office of the Comptroller. It's not likely to go anywhere though:

Schmidt and founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin together hold 66.2% of Google's total shareholder voting power, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing. All three are members of the board of directors, which has recommended that shareholders vote against the proposal at the company's annual meeting on May 10.

I'm sure you can find more information about this here.

Values...and a carjacking in Cleveland

Awhile back, we were talking about values, and Billy Beck's guitars, and certain people who think that insurance companies can replace real values, so they aren't worth going to the mat over.

I saw this issue played out, in painful detail, with some friends of mine this past weekend.

The Mignarda lute song duo (Ron Andrico and Donna Stewart) had been touring out West, headed back to Ithaca-ish, and had pulled into their home-away-from-home in Cleveland, the residence of Fred Lautzenheiser on Wade Park, when a man-like creature with a gun indicated that he would shoot Ron if they didn't give up wallets and car keys. Which they did, even though the car contained three lutes, a bass guitar, their proceeds from the tour, boxes of CDs, music, rare borrowed microfilms, etc. In other words, they lost their whole means of doing what they do professionally.

Well, unfortunately for our friends at majikthise, they weren't insured. That's a decision that could be Monday-morning quarterbacked, but insurance is expensive (else why would people constantly be begging government to provide it?) and the metaphysics of it suck; you are basically betting that you personally will have more Federal Reserve Notes worth of horror happen to you than you're paying out, while "the house" has the game rigged so they'll always be taking in more than they pay. And even if they had been insured, it would have done them no good. You can't just go down to Guitar Center and buy a lute. They are made one-at-a-time, and the best makers have waiting lists years long. One favorite instrument could not be replicated, because the maker is dead. And because they are specialized instruments, they're hard to fence, and easy to trace; a thief-of-convenience finding such instruments might find them more useful as mailbox bats than as moneymakers.

Now, the problem with Lindsay's snideness is that values are individual. That's the part she can't accept...because she'd rather let the thief live and file the insurance claim in the morning, she assumes that's the "right" way to handle this. Ron and Donna are pretty laid-back, granola-oid people, and even if they didn't live in Hillarystan, they probably wouldn't fight back...not to mention that, tactically, they were doubtless in a position where they couldn't, even if they wanted to. But the point is that it was their crisis, and they had to handle it how they had to handle it.

If this had been me, I think I would have done nothing. I have a personal problem about being an accomplice to a crime, about giving the sanction of the victim. If pushed for an answer, I would have said, quietly, "No. Now go away." Yes, I could have gotten shot that way. But I'm past 50, living on borrowed time. It would have been a shock to him. And in that shock, he might have realized that killing me to get my stuff would just get him killed by the State. If I were going to lose that much of my life, for me it would be worth taking the chance.

Thieves count on people's fear of getting hurt. People go along to stay safe, just as the first 9/11 passengers went along, and often it doesn't work anyway. Just a day or two later:

A female student was walking near the Turning Point statue when a male approached her and asked for her wallet. She complied and handed him her wallet. The suspect then punched her in the face, knocking her to the ground. After looking through the wallet, the suspect threw it to the ground after finding no money in it.
There are a number of holdups that happen around campus. Sometimes they succeed with a hand in a pocket, pretending to be a gun. Suzy Creamcheese says, "He's got a gun!" and gives up her purse. OTOH, I know an Israeli woman whose response when mugged was "You've got a gun? SHOW it to me!" He did, and it was persuasive...but I guess it takes growing up in a country under attack to be that desirous to face the unpleasant reality of armed force.

The problem with going along, from a rule-utilitarian viewpoint, is that it makes armed robbery an almost risk-free crime, particularly if you're working a campus where the victims are disarmed. The perp fades into the crowd. You've read the physical descriptions, and they're all pretty much the same. But the act-utilitarian take would be that resistance increases the danger for you personally. What to do?

What if we ask not what is safe, but what is good? And what are the real costs associated with our personal worldviews? We consider ourselves a Christian country, since many of our citizens are Christian. When faced with the demand, "Co-operate in my evil by giving me your money, or I will send you to be with Jesus." you would think that the choice would be a no-brainer. Of course, in the real world, "You'll spend the rest of your days as a quadriplegic" might be the second option. Yet whole bunches of self-described Christians have a problem in standing up to evil. My neo-pagan brothers have the same problem, and belief in reincarnation doesn't seem to help them (maybe because they don't really believe it). But then, faced with "Co-operate in my evil by giving me your money, or I will make you go thrugh adolescence again," I might actually join the perp's gang.

I've gone rather far afield here...and it may be somewhat unfair to use my friends' tragedy as a focus for larger issues. What Ron and Donna do is very special; they manage to bring a crossover sensibility into early music, without actually doing crossover (with the tastelessness and ahistoricity that implies). I hope they manage to recover some of what they lost, and get back on their feet quickly.

Holocaust denial: getting to the core

A man was just booted from a libertarian Yahoo-group I'm on, for Holocaust revisionism. He's been advocating this viewpoint on a number of libertarian lists. I'm not going to blacken the man's name here (he's doing quite a good job of that himself) so we'll just call him Mr. Wacko.

For those a little fuzzy on their theory of rights, note that this is not a case of censorship. This is fundamentally different from what Germany does to such folks. If a man makes a drooling ass of himself in my living room, I have a right to tell him to leave. So does the owner of a Yahoo list. Case closed.

That being said, I have no clue on how a self-identified libertarian can support Holocaust revisionism or revisionists. None. I can understand supporting the rights of these folks to spew their nonsense hither and yon. Truth will out in the end. But that's different than making their arguments for them.

Most people faced with Holocaust revisionism never understand the ultimate issue, and take the wrong tack in dealing with their arguments. One school takes on the revisionist arguments on a factual basis. Yes, there are holes in revisionism that you can drive a boxcar through. But discussing fact and interpretation is what historians do, and this just legitimizes revisionism as history. The other major school regards deniers as crazed anti-Semites and refuses to engage them in anything deeper than mockery and sarcasm. This "proves" to the denier that they have no argument.

There is a better way.

Let's for a moment accept virtually every Holocaust denial/diminishment argument ever made, as fact: the gas was for disinfection, not murder, they were fed so they could work, the starving inmates were starving because Allied bombing had disrupted supplies, yada yada. Let's go even farther, ditch the testimony of Mein Kampf etc. and say that Hitler loved the Jews and that he rounded them up in concentration camps for their own good, to save them from the "spontaneous public demonstration" of Kristallnacht, and was going to ship them to Israel as soon as the war was over.

Now, in libertarian theory, is it moral for a state to remove a group of people from their homes and take their property, even if it's for their own good? Of course not. Consider the universal condemnation of Kelo vs. New London among libertarians, regardless of Holocaust viewpoint. And that was a case where the victims were compensated for their loss. Yet I have never read an argument that the Jews were not transported, or that they were transported voluntarily. That thing cannot be argued: the camps exist, people were arrested, they had to pay exhorbitant taxes in order to leave the country, and had to leave their wealth behind, they were forbidden to carry so much as a club as weapon, let alone firearms. And every one of these violations of individual sovereignty was performed because of their ideas about a hypothetical superhuman, or their ancestors' ideas about that hypothetical superhuman...because of a collective identification.

Yet I have never heard a Holocaust denier admit that what the German government did was wrong. I've never once heard somebody say, "Da Jooz exaggerated what was going on so they could get Israel, but what was going on was wrong and shouldn't have happened." It's clearly not that they don't care about what happened, since they care so passionately about what they think didn't happen. So one must conclude that they approve of Hitler wanting to rid Germany of Jews. Further, I've never seen a hint from them that, had the Nazis actually done what history accuses them of, that it would have been wrong.

The arguments of Birdman Bryant et al that the Holocaust didn't happen because people weren't deliberately murdered remind me of the argument that waterboarding isn't really torture because it doesn't maim anyone. Since it isn't torture, we should stop using it, because it's obviously ineffective. But since it's used for the purpose and intent of torture and is effective as torture, it seems pretty obvious that torture is what it is. Likewise, if a whole bunch of Jews die while you are violating their human rights, the difference between murder and negligence is of no moral import.

The treatment of Jews by the NSDAP government is a big stinking turd. When you whitewash a big stinking turd, you are left with a big stinking turd with whitewash on it...and people who look at you and wonder what kind of insanity causes one to whitewash turds. The libertarian movement doesn't need that kind of crazy, regardless of how much organizational work they might do, or their commitment to the cause.

UPDATE 6/1: Comments to this post have been closed. I have a life, unlike those with a passion of Endlosungverbesserung

Corzine goes home.

There were no emergency lights blazing, and drivers were told to observe the speed limit. WorldNetDaily claimed that he was doing 70 in a 55, but from the article under the headline, the only safe conclusion was that they were doing 70 in a 65, which in NJ is probably called "falling behind in traffic." It was pretty sleazy to accuse him of speed-demon ways when he was obviously trying to set a good example.

UPDATE: Balko takes the WND position. So, Radley, do you really want cops busting people for 5 miles over? He kind of makes up for it though with some links to other stories about the High and Mighty taking over the highways.