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

Bloomberg gets spanked by Senate committee

In a blow to Mayor Bloomberg's campaign against illegal guns, a Senate committee yesterday voted 19–10 to pass an amendment that mandates prison time for police officers who use federal gun-trace data for anything except specific investigations.

Cleveland Clinic: no smokers need apply

I don't know quite what to make of this. I don't smoke, and never have, and don't like being around it. But I've lived 51 years on this planet without peeing in a cup, and don't intend to start now. If I worked for the Clinic, I would consider this a violation of privacy.

"While the public health goals of such policies are clear and commendable, promoting the healthy lifestyles and reducing risky behaviors ought not come at the price of basic freedoms," argued Summer Johnson of the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank in Washington.

What "basic freedoms" are we talking about here? Freedom of association and contract? Well, we know a "progressive" think tank isn't going to support those. The "freedom" to work in whatever industry you want? The big danger is that quasi-governmental cartels like the AMA will make this standard operating practice. Otherwise, the nicotine-addicted could find nicotine-addicted doctors, and everyone would be happy.

PETA vs. Michael Moore

This is too good...PETA busting Michael Moore for being a pig-eating pig. It's so much fun when the Left forms a circular firing squad. Now Moore needs to make a movie about animal rights, full of his usual truthfulness.

Peter Mehlman, psychic

You could argue that even the world's worst fascist dictators at least meant well. They honestly thought were doing good things for their countries by suppressing blacks/eliminating Jews/eradicating free enterprise/repressing individual thought/killing off rivals/invading neighbors, etc. Only the Saudi royal family is driven by the same motives as Bush, but they were already entrenched. Bush set a new precedent. He came into office with the attitude of "I'm so tired of the public good. What about my good? What about my rich friends' good?"

How can anyone not see it? It's not that their policies have been misguided or haven't played out right. They. Don't. Even. Mean. Well.

Wow! Mehlman can not only look into Bush's mind and examine his motives, but into the minds of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, the Emperor Boukassa and the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld.

This isn't even moral equivalence. It's a statement that the above worthies are the moral superiors of Bush.

There are a lot of countries now being run by well-meaning tyrants. If Bush is that horrible, why doesn't Mehlman emigrate to one?

University of Nevada faculty to carry?

Wow. Just wow.
The University of Nevada Board of Regents is willing to spend $3K per faculty member for 21 weeks of training so they can be deputized to do an end run around a state law banning guns on campus.

Now, I doubt many will take them up on the offer. And it does seem like "some potential victims are more equal than others". But could you imagine Case doing such a thing?

Jodi Rell, go to Hell

Connecticut’s governor, a cancer survivor, vetoed a bill that would have allowed people with certain serious illnesses to use marijuana, saying it was fraught with problems and sent a mixed message to children.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell said Tuesday that she struggled with the decision.


Of course, you could have let doctors and patients struggle with the decision...after all it's their struggle.

Jessie Davis

Even those like me who aren't much interested in crime have been wrapped up in this. And now that she's found, let me first say that my heart goes out to the family and friends of all involved.

But:

...investigators continued to question Bobby Cutts Jr., 30, who is the father of Davis' son but is married to another woman.

I'm going to be accused of "blaming the victim", of "being insensitive". And yes, that's exactly true. But it needs to be said: what was this drop-dead gorgeous woman doing sharing a man with somebody? 50 years ago, this was not acceptable. It's accepted now, but it's still not acceptable. And as we've seen from the results, it's not smart.

Simpler times

I like the ideal behind this, particularly the idea of creating a planned village without anti-animal zoning (though apparently they are under a broader zoning law). But simplicity comes at a price:

The cost for lots in Simpler Times Village ranges from $20,000 to $80,000, with cost estimates for homes between $100,000 and $500,000. Lot sizes range from one-sixth of an acre to one and a half acres. Lots with more acreage were available but have already been purchased. The community is scheduled to be built in 2008.

And it's a planned community, which means somebody somewhere will have veto power on your livelihood or taste in landscaping. Anybody who enserfs themselves to a Homeowner's Association deserves what they get.

Retirees, causing trouble

In the spirit of the remarks I made at Summerfes, a joke from my father:

Working people frequently ask retired people what they do to make their days interesting. Well, for example, the other day I went downtown and went into a shop. I was only in there for about 5 minutes and when I came out there was a cop writing out a parking ticket. I went up to him and said, "Come on, man, how about giving a retired person a break"? He ignored me and continued writing the ticket.

I called him a "Nazi." He glared at me and started writing another ticket for having worn tires. So I called him a "doughnut eating Gestapo." He finished the second ticket and put it on the windshield with the first. Then he started writing a third ticket. This went on for about 20 minutes. The more I abused him, the more tickets he wrote.

Personally, I didn't care. I came downtown on the bus and the car that he was putting the tickets on had a bumper sticker that said "Hillary in '08." I try to have a little fun each day now that I'm retired. It's important to my health.

G-ville Summerfest

We're just back from Garrettsville Summerfest, the local street fair. We went down mainly for the St. Ambrose Chicken Festival: half a roast chicken, mashed, beans, roll, beverage and dessert for $7. Such a deal! And cute little girls asking if you want drink refills.

Then we walked down to the fair proper. It was the usual stuff, with lots of charities out to make a buck. One bunch of kids was selling baked goods to support missionaries in Latvia. I don't know which church or organization they represented. But 'scuse me; Latvia is a Christian nation, no thanks to the Teutonic Knights (I think technically there they were the Knights of Livonia or somesuch, but same difference). The implication is that they aren't "real" Christians over there. I don't recall if they are Catholic like the Lithuanians, or Lutheran. Given that their native religion was already squashed once by carpetbaggers, it seems only right to let Latvian Christians be responsible for the spread of the Gospel over there.

Then there were the Latter Day Saints and the Howland family tree. Apparently, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, the Bushes, Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Smith all have a common ancestor. And they say there's no royalty in America! I think the nice lady was a little shocked when I pointed to the bottom of the chart and said, "So if we jumped into a time machine and killed this guy, we could change the entire course of history." I mean, definitely there was some bad seed there. And I asked, "How do you feel about the founder of your church being related to Richard Nixon?"

Clearly, I was out for trouble. So were the local Democrats, who were hawking pro-impeachment t-shirts. To which I asked, "Can we get a two-for-one deal and impeach Bush AND Nancy Pelosi?"

This blog is PG-13

...according to these folks. But look at the criteria:

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

* dead (4x)
* gay (3x)
* kill (1x)

Duh! Given that this is called "The Quick and the dead" (which is a reference to the Nicene Creed, you idiots), there's not much help for it.

Deer!

Just minutes after the last post, I saw 2 deer standing between my apple and pear trees, 20 feet at most from our back deck. I hadn't seen deer on this property until this year. My theory is that when Jeff Wells logged and cleared his woods, they went to mine for cover.

More garden in today, in spite of the intermittant showers. But back to work tomorrow.

Farm report

I've been taking some time off from work, getting things straightened around at home..and totally ignoring the outside world...hence the paucity of political rants here of late. But I need to post something. I have friends (and you know who you are) who add something to their LiveJournal page once a month whether it needs it or not. This is not the way to build readership.

This has been my best growing year yet. Things aren't drowning like last year, I'm moving the soil in the direction I want, and I'm getting a clue on what I'm doing. It's being a bit droughty, but my soil is tolerant of that, and it's easier to put water in than to take it out, even if one then has to worry about whether the well will hold out. What I'm really seeing is that, for most people, the idea that "when the shit hits the fan, I'll grow my own food" is a delusion. It takes awhile to get a system going and to even begin to get the necessary skills. The most important skill is to pay attention. It's been hard to do that on top of work and all (and composing has suffered), but I'm on top of things more than I have been.

Fruit is doing fine. The summer apple tree is overloaded...yes, I really should thin, and maybe prop up one branch. Asian pear and grapes have fruit for the first time. Blueberries are loaded. Strawberries need renewal.

So far, there are no disasters in the garden...well, germination was spotty on sweet corn, mouse melons and mangels. But it looks like my first successful cauliflower and kohlrabi. Broccoli is bearing and is beautiful, tomatoes nice and stocky, eggplant coming along. I planted melons and sweet potatoes in black plastic, so we'll see how they do.

Critters? Egg production from the old girls is off, but they'll get help soon. We have two roosters, who are a bit importunate. Joe is relatively gentle about it. He's our oldest surviving fowl, saved from the ax because I was not convinced he was male. "If that's a rooter, he's gay." Which is why we named him after one of my wife's gay (former) friends. Well, he wasn't gay, just a late bloomer. Obama, in contrast, is no hen's favorite, and isn't too suave about taking what he wants. Hey, he's a teenager...we don't even think his sister is laying yet. the ducks are incredibly consistent layers, but it seems that Rusty is allergic to their eggs. Rabbit production is haphazard, because I didn't keep records and had a surprise delivery, something I've changed since. We killed 2 the other day, and there were at least 2 more that needed it, but Rusty is convinced they are pregnant, even though neither of us have bred them. She was convinced of that 2 weeks ago; I suppose we'll have to wait out a whole 31-day cycle before she's convinced that the Savior of Bunnykind will not be born of a virgin. She swears up and down that it isn't sex but alcohol that makes babies, proof being that she was drunk when she conceived hers.

we've been laying in a bunch of wood, thanks to Rusty's old neighbor in Niles who had some trees chopped down. Since Rusty has been unemployed, she's had time to keep the yard spiffed up. I've been playing with fencing and last night I hung an 8' gate I'd repainted. the pole moved in the ground though, so it wasn't a successful operation. Next project will probably be to rebuild my little wagon (de-rust, paint, rebuild deck).

And it's now 6:30, and I really should get to work out there.

What's wrong with California?

Back in 1909, California progressives enacted a eugenics program which resulted in the forced sterilization of 19,000 people. Oliver Wendell Holmes, reviewing the case of the “socially inadequate” Carrie Bell, in the landmark Buck v Bell, concluded that “her welfare and that of society will be promoted by her sterilization.” That makes the California eugenics statute a “nanny law.” In light of that misstep alone, you would think that Californians would be eager to enact legislation which severely curtailed the powers of their own government, and meted out harsh penalties to overbearing moralists. But the opposite is true.

And here's a summary of how they're still "fixing" things.

Thanks to rightwingprof.

Don't skinnydip in the piranha pond

"We knew what we were doing was something new, and it would take some time for people to get their arms around it, but we were not expecting this visceral of a reaction,"

Duh! You start a web service for rating lawyers, and you're surprised when they sue you? That's like hitting a beehive with a baseball bat. And judges are lawyers too. You are screwed, Mr. Britton.

Race over the top

So what's more appalling: to say (if he said it) that a particular AIDS victim "deserved what he got", or to say that the politician who said that should be "removed from office" and "not be allowed to serve on any committee with appropriations"? (By what power or under what law?)

You know, Mr. Rajner, that's why we have elections. If the voters think Rep. Hays is a big enough jerk, they'll remove him. Keep your powder dry until the campaign.

Po widdle cwabbies!

Aftenposten's food writer is in, er, hot water with Norwegian animal rights activists after describing how to cook crabs.

Ekern was saddened by the charges and will meet NOAH at the Conciliation Board on Monday.

"I think on should turn up and hear what NOAH has to say, and I am especially looking forward to hearing an alternative method of boiling crabs, because they are traditionally boiled alive," Ekern said.

Senior researcher Stein Martinsen at the Institute of Marine Research does not have good news for NOAH.

"It is difficult to kill shellfish in other ways than boiling. I know some who hack lobsters in two, but they have a tiny brain that is not so easy to hit," Martinsen said.

Somewhat like your typical PETA member.

200 years for a FOIA request

ONDCP assistant general counsel Daniel Petersen, in a marginally literate letter, told Tom Angell of Students for Sensible Drug Policy that he could expect an answer to his FOIA denial appeal "by June 22, 2207".

It was a typo, of course, but aren't we paying these people to be accurate? Worse, when Angell went public with the letter, Petersen made a threatening phone call. Rather abusive behavior from the holder of a job for which there is no constitutional warrant, wouldn't you say?

Collected Bach is finished

Today marks the official completion of the Neue Bach Ausgabe.

On 13 June 2007, a ceremony marking the completion of the New Bach Edition will take place at St. Thomas’s Church, Leipzig as part of the Bach Festival. At this ceremony, the final volume of the edition will be symbolically presented to the public. Guest speakers will include the President of the Bundestag, Dr. Norbert Lammert, the Federal Minister of Education and Research, Dr. Annette Schavan and the President of the Union of Academies, Prof. Dr. Gerhard Gottschalk. Musical highlights will be provided by St. Thomas’s Choir, Leipzig, under the direction of the Kantor of St. Thomas’s, Georg Christoph Biller, and the Gewandhaus Orchestra. Works by Bach first published in the New Bach Edition will be performed.

Border bars are hurting

It didn't take a graduate degree in economics to predict that bars along the MI, IN, and PA borders would be hurting, and that bars on the other side would be booming, as the result of Ohio's smoking ban. It's just another case of moralism trumping people's livelihoods, just like Hope Taft's war against the pre-made Jello shot guy. But this time it's the sacred will of da peepul that Debbie Longley's hours be cut by 3/5. Suck it up, Deb; this is democracy.

And in related news, the university's Smoking Task Force Group sent out a link for a survey at surveymonkey.com. Given that most smoking at Case is legally out of control of the University anyway, I don't know what they were looking for...maybe encouragement to make campus smoking even more restrictive. (Expel anyone caught smoking in a dorm room! Yeah, that's the ticket!) I doubt they were really interested in anyone's opinion, because the message was sent from a no-reply address, and the survey link just defaulted to www.surveymonkey.com. At least we've been warned that there's a Trash Force at work.

More on the Rev's fight against evil gambling machines

Rev. Gov. Strickland is so anxious to ban video gambling that he's willing to see the bill attached to the must-pass state budget. But oh no, this isn't about gambling. "Ethically run enterprises" like the state lottery are OK. Evidently it's all about "the will of the people". So, if "da peepul" voted to load all Methodist ministers into boxcars and ship them to West Virginia, Ted would be down with that?

Antioch College to shut down

$28K per year to go to a school that doesn't give grades and has an enrollment smaller than most high schools? Yeah, that's a real value. And it's not surprising that the endowment is low; what rich guy wants to support a school with an anti-private-property culture? I've never heard of a university closing and then re-opening. It's theoretically possible to have New Antioch, but the rebranding will be hellacious, as the changes needed to create a successful new university will be directly contrary to the school's reputation. It'll be amazing if the trustees actually pull this off.

The moral is: cool doesn't cut it. Sure, a certain amount of buzz is fun and can help get your message out. But what's important is the quality of education, and graduates' ability to get jobs. We were in danger of losing that focus at Case for a bit, but the ship is back on course.

Cold calling is not an effective sales technique

...especially when you're selling drugs. You never know when you might be talking to a cop.

Arranging to meet by a school so he could tack the extra charge on just wasn't sporting.

OSU: more sense than Case

Our flagship state university decided that it just wasn't prudent to raise $4M to host a partisan political event. At least Case is a private university, not directly dependent on public looted money, so if the former management wanted to spend big on currying favor with the ruling class, it was their own business. Maybe they learned from our experience...but it's still humbling for "cow college" to have better sense than us.

There's a reason Ohio went Democratic

...and it was largely because of moralism. Ken Blackwell was way too connected to the Religious Right, to the loons who've lobbied to close down the stripper bars. Worse, he was none too scrupulous about democratic process. So the state went for Strickland. Not me; I voted for Peirce. I am very hesitant to vote for anyone who has ever parked a "Rev." in front of his name.

And I was right. Ted is a moralist too. I always suspected that his campaign against bringing in food for meetings was as much about gluttony as the budget. Now he and his sidekick Marc Dann are going against the evils of gambling...specifically, mechanical "games of skill" with cash payouts, and instant video horseracing. He's oh so careful not to hurt Cedar Point and chuck E. Cheese...but Ted, isn't that where the gaming industry hooks 'em early? And if gambling is such a problem for Ohio, why are you going against the little private guys? Why aren't you campaigning to end the state lottery?

MASShole lobbies for john doors to open outwards

BOSTON -- If Bellingham resident Douglas Flavin has his way, all public bathroom doors in Massachusetts will open outward, not inward.

The Legislature's Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight reviewed the bill Wednesday. State Rep. James Vallee (D-Franklin) filed the bill on Flavin's behalf.

"[Think] how easy it would be to prevent germs and disease," Flavin's wife Tracy told BostonNow. "If state residents could open bathroom doors with a knee or elbow instead of a handle."

Flavin also claimed it would prevent litter resulting from people protecting their hands with paper towels.

A representative for the state Department of Public Safety told the newspaper that the state building code does not specify the direction public bathroom doors must open.

There are actually people who open stall doors with paper towels?? Look, they have sinks with germicidal soap for a reason, and if you can refrain from picking your nose before you get to the basin, you should be home free. Besides, people's hands are full of germs before they enter the stall, and they'll leave them on the handle of an outward-opening door.

This story leaves more questions than it answers though:

1. What's Flavin's problem? Is he immunocompromised? Is he a doctor or bacteriologist and can show how many illnesses will be prevented? Or is he just a neurotic whiner?

2. Does the bill control new construction only, or must all stall doors be retrofitted to open outwards? And how will the cost of this compare to the cost of the illnesses avoided?

Well, research time...here it is:

HOUSE . . . . . . . No. 3258 By Mr. Vallee of Franklin (by request), petition of Douglas Flavin for legislation to require that doors to public toilets be constructed to open outwards. State Administration and Regulatory Oversight.

Chapter 111 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 33 the following section:—
Section 33A. The entrance door to all rooms containing toilets or water closets available to the public or to persons engaged in the production or service of food shall open outwards.

That's it. That's all. It's apparently the bathroom owner's job to fix it, but there are no penalties stated for not doing so.

Vallee seems fairly sane, for a politician. He's a military reservist, so he can't be that divorced from reality. I suspect that the way this went down is that Flavin harassed him to the breaking point, so he submitted a lame, badly-written excuse of a bill, figuring that he'd be a laughingstock but that Flavin would be ten times the laughingstock.

My boss' take: "Some people just shouldn't use public restrooms. Is that okay?"

"Well...Depends."

America's most powerful gun control lobby

...has just struck a deal with the Democrats. I'm glad I let my membership lapse.

Catch a crook, lose your job.

Since loss prevention at Home Depot is not a high priority, they must have oodles of money and don't need any of mine.

Besides, I've always hated being greeted at the door with their employment drug policy. I've wanted to bring in a specimen so they can know if I'm straight enough to be a customer. With Lowe's just as close, why should I put up with that?

Felony brandishing of a rubber band gun

I used to gunsmith rubber band 3-shooter pistols, so this could have been me...except that I had better sense (from better parenting) than to point a rubber-band gun at an adult, esp. a strange adult. But then, "adult" may not describe this little girl:

Someone driving nearby called police after they said the boy pointed what looked like a real gun out the window. The victim told police she was afraid for her life.

Things might have gotten interesting if the chickie had been armed and decided to defend her life.

New logo!


I think Case finally has it right. The new logo is less dowdy than the old aurora, and more concrete than "surfer dude" (I always preferred "fly breaks through screen", but that's not what captured the popular imagination.) Best of all, the new logo avoids "Case", which was the only really offensive thing about the old one. And with luck, the new use guidelines will forstall another outbreak of "kuru"(CWRU...not "crew", thankyouverymuch).

So far, public opinion seems positive...better certainly than the outcry over this logo.

Cut the power!

"There is an overarching lack of trust in anybody with power," said Democratic strategist Stephanie Cutter. "It's not just President Bush. It's Congress. It's our CEOs. It's Hollywood. It's Wall Street. There's just an overwhelming lack of trust with authority and the people who have it."
So the solution attempted by both parties is to find a candidate with authenticity, who appears honest, with the thought that somebody can apply power and still be trustworthy. They don't get it. We don't trust power, period, because it corrupts. There is only one candidate for President who has renounced the use of power, and he's been trashed by the media and the Republican Party. Saying (like Edwards) that you were wrong about the war, while offering the electorate the usual stolen goods, is not going to convince people that you can be trusted with power.

Loitering while online: 5 years in MI

...so it could have been, had this gone to trial.

To some extent, one can feel a little sympathy for the barbershop guy. It's not a good thing to have cars sitting in front of your establishment every day without contributing to income. And he had no idea that the Michigan legislature had done a drunken tour through cyberlaw. Neither had the investigating officer:

Milanowski ruled out Peterson as a possible stalker of the attractive local hairdresser, but still felt that a law might have been broken.

"We came back and we looked up the laws and we figured if we found one and thought, 'Well, let's run it by the prosecutor's office and see what they want to do,'" Milanowski said.

In other words, Peterson "should" have been arrested, because he made a cop work unnecessarily, so Milanowski looked for a law that could apply (regardless of whether any sane normal human would expect there to be such a law), and since it was a cop making the charge, the prosecutor had to run with it.

I hope Milanowski suddenly develops difficulty in getting a good cup of coffee in Kent County.