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

The right to vote

Sen. Bill Nelson has a fine whine going about the Democrats refusing to count the votes in Florida's moved-up primary. Of course, he blames the Republican Florida legislature. And he has a point, to the extent that the Republicans have not come forward to disqualify Republican votes.

But there's this "right to vote" nonsense:

Four decades ago, our nation belatedly enacted a law to guarantee every U.S. citizen an equal right to vote.

First of all, there's no general right to vote for President. It's not Constitutionally mandated that presidential electors be chosen by popular vote. In fact, given how much they've mucked up the process in the past, I'm surprised that Florida hasn't decided to choose its electors via the legislature, as many states did originally.

There's even less a right to vote in a party primary. 'Scuse me, but to vote for MY party's candidate, I have to pay my dues, get named as a delegate, and go to the national convention, which is not cheap. Have MY voting rights been violated? Or how's this: the state of Ohio says I'm a Republican, because that's the primary I vote in (I can cause more trouble that way.) So are my voting rights violated because I can't also vote in the Democratic primary, given that I'm not either party, and might well vote for either party's candidates in the general election? Political parties are private organizations, and the government has no business holding elections for a private organization, and still less business writing those private organizations into the ballot access laws. And if the Democratic Party has so violated principle, why doesn't Nelson quit the Democratic Party?

It's good to see that the commentors are no more sympathetic than I am.

Computer finally back

After 2 weeks and umpteen dollars, my computer is back home, better than ever. It was a trying experience, as it took for flaming ever for the power supply to come in...the special little power supply that goes in an iMac, while across the store there was a whole wall full of power supplies. And I didn't have a direct line to MicroCenter service, and they didn't call me, so calling them was a trial. Now to clean up my desktop, do some long-overdue backup, and get to some serious composing.

"Minimalism" and Minimalism

Kyle Gann has an interesting riff going on about the usage of "minimalist" to describe the current music of Reich, Glass and Adams, diluting its applicability to the pattern music of the 60s and 70s (and following). It's kind of entertaining to see a notorious liberal do the Objectivist "words have meaning" thing (Hey, Kyle, I'll give you back "minimalist" if I can have "own"), but that doesn't make him less right. He accurately calls the disappearance of that music down the memory hole:

You could sense their relief when John Adams and Louis Andriessen started funnelling those repeated notes into big orchestral gestures, and breaking into actual melody. "Oh, thank god," all the classical mavens and music professors sighed in chorus, "we couldn't take another minute of those endless repetitions, those drones moving by infinitessimal degrees. Let's call this stuff minimalism, and hopefully everyone will forget about that old boring minimalism."

Except that people didn't really, so the ambiguity cuts both ways. Example: Joe Concertgoer's reaction to Glass. He's heard the joke:
"Knock knock" -- "Who's there?"
"Knock knock" -- "Who's there?"
"Knock knock" -- "Who's there?"
"Knock knock" -- "Who's there?"
"Phillip Glass"
So he won't listen to, say, the Violin Concerto. If that's Minimalist, then so is Vivaldi. But Joe will suck down the Four Sleazons for hours. And no musicologist ever discusses Vivaldi in terms of minimalism, and not just because it's an anachronistic concept.

Screw usage. Usage is wrong. We need a term for "Nonesuch minimalism". I'm all in favor of "pattern romanticism" myself. It's big enough to encompass the "holy minimalists" (who aren't and never were Gann minimalists), the Gorecki 3rd, parts of Vasks, maybe earlier Rouse. It's a big tent, because it's a loose concept. But minimalism was a tight concept: music that was process as opposed to music happening through process. Fight the good fight, Kyle; don't give up.

A Paw full of money for Hillary

The Paws are working-class Chinese-Americans who live in a single-story lime-green refinanced house near the San Francisco airport. Paw Paw is a postman, Maw Paw is a homemaker..evidently taking care of their 4 adult children who live there. They're mostly registered nonpartisan, and are sporadic voters. But in 2004, they saw the light! They gave big to John Kerry, and now even bigger to Hillary Clinton. Isn't it great when children of immigrants finally throw themselves body and soul into the American political process, and give until it hurts?

Some racists have wondered whether a certain Norman Hsu who allegedy used to live there has given the Paws money to give to, well, the same candidates that Hsu has been contributing to. It's totally unfair to think that the Paws would do such a thing. They probably just think that Hsu knows something...something the Paws would rather that anyone else not know. Chinese money has always been important to the Clintons, and the Clintons have responded in kind. And anybody who finds fault with that is a racist. Of course.

I agree with Black on Black Crime on something??

They're rallying to show support for Michael Vick, who they say should get probation as a first-time offender.

Now, I think dogfighting is sleazy and disgusting. I wouldn't participate, and for the Falcons to give him the heave-ho is perfectly appropriate. But...why should it be criminal? If we give the state the right to legislate against people fighting their dogs, we've given them the right to prescribe how people will care for their livestock...or whether they will even HAVE livestock. Joel Salatin hammers this connection (particularly about raw milk vs. the drug laws) in his new book, Everything I want to do is illegal (which I'll be reviewing here when I'm done). But notice that BOBC can't make the principled connection: they're arguing that the punishment is too severe, rather than that it's not a legitimate government function. I suspect they really don't want to go there, given how many of the probably benefit from illegitimate use of government.

Rev. Tracey Lind in running for Bishop of Chicago

I'd vote for her. Kick her upstairs, and let her finish the job Gene Robinson started. Pimples don't heal until they break.

Oh, and one linguistic correction from the pagan boy: the proper term is priestess.

So who's poor?

Almost nobody, it turns out:

46 percent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.

They're better off than I am. I live in exactly such a home, and the bank owns it. And should I pay off the bank's share, I'll still have to rent it from the government. (Rent? Well, if I don't pay my taxes, I can't live there anymore; what else do you call it?) Yeah, yeah, I know, they meant "home ownership" as "your name is on the deed." But anymore, it's almost as easy as renting...which is why we have a foreclosure crisis.

I'm not into this punitive thing of "count the toys." I want to find out why these people think that 16 hrs a week of work is going to make it. I want to stop the government from enabling that, and I want to encourage the American consumer (not the companies...they're just giving people what they want) to quit exporting jobs to Asia.

"Formerly Catholic, now Christian..."

So began the flyer in the local hardware store, looking for members for a support group for similar people who didn't think they had been Christian enough.

This really energized my prayer life, as in repeated cries of "Lord, why are some of your followers such yutzes?" If I wanted to practice a religion that specialized in "voting people off the island", well, I'm a Wiccan initiate; been there, done that.

By any historical or doctrinal measure, Catholics are Christians. They may be heretics, though objectively and historically it's the Protestants who have been doing the choosing. They may even be Damnable Heretics, if your God saves on the basis of works and not faith. But then, isn't that your problem with Catholicism?

Berkeley Breathed gets censored

It was the horrible filthy right-out-there-for-children sex joke that did them in, right?

LOLA GRANOLA:You're not getting a girlfriend obsessed with decadent Western crud. You're not getting a girlfriend obsessed with "American idol". And you're not getting a girlfriend who resists a man's rightful place.

STEVE: Anything else I won't be getting, Fatima?

LOLA: God willing.

No? Then it was the threat of Amish nudists plowing buggies full of ANFO into the Washington Post, right?

Hmm, there must be a reason the WaPo, Boston Globe and others protected us from this. Let me check in my copy of Journalism for Dhimmis.

"A more fair distribution of the sunrise"

Cindy Sheehan's buddy Mr. Chavez has moved Venezuela's time back by half an hour, joining such renowned and trendy places as Newfoundland...all "for the children", who won't have to go to school in the dark. He couldn't just change school time, could he?

Buy a gun on Tuesday

...especially if you can get a privately-sold gun.

The Brady Campaign, along with its Million Mom March chapters, said it will join the Rev. Jesse Jackson's Operation PUSH Coalition at demonstrations in cities across America.

Jackson's group chose Aug. 28 because it marks the 44th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s historic march on Washington.

And the opening of the Mauthausen concentration camp (1938)

Who is Jane Galt?

Yesterday I read a chirp on Hit and Run about how "Jane Galt" (Megan McArdle) was now blogging for Atlantic. I kind of blew it off, until Beck rubbed my nose in it. And it really is JUST as bad as he says.

In discussing the morality of a single-payer system, those efficiency considerations are irrelevant. In discussing the morality, one thing matters: who is made better off, and who worse off, by the system? ... But I think many of those who read the post attributed to me a much broader claim that no government transfer would be moral. That is not so. I was questioning the moral justice of the enormous, blunt transfer between huge classes that is necessarily embodied in a single payer system, or at least one such as the versions of mandatory pooling envisioned by wonks like Ezra. Many people took that to mean that I believed there was therefore no moral argument in favor of caring for the sick. I confess that I'm surprised that someone like Scott Lemieux would make such an error, but as I say, perhaps I was unclear.

There is indeed a very compelling moral argument to be made in favor of some sort of government sponsored health care finance, which is simply this: no one should die, or suffer unduly, because they don't have the money to pay for treatment. Some of my libertarian readers will say that this still doesn't give the government the right to take the fruits of our labor by force, but in fact, I find this argument fairly convincing.

I don't know what's more appalling: that...or 90% of the comments after it...or the blase reaction of the libertysphere to it. But I must say that Andrew Sullivan is becoming a most accurate indicator of quality and truth; if Sully likes it, it sucks.

Catholic politicians and abortion

There are a number of Catholic politicians who have been attempting to ride the fence on the abortion issue, claiming that they can be good Catholics and still vote in favor of abortion. The Church is increasingly not buying this argument, and bishops are starting to withhold the sacraments from the likes of John Kerry. This in turn makes people fear the church, because it appears that "Rome is giving marching orders" to American politicians (as was claimed in the 19th century, and is claimed for Muslim candidates to Hamtramck MI city council today). I'm sympathetic to the problem, though I am not Catholic; as a libertarian, I am pro-choice, but I'm increasingly convinced by the Church's critique of people so anxious not to breed that they will kill a child in the womb.

I believe that there's a solution that I have not seen discussed before, that will satisfy the Church, square the conscience of the believing politician, and increase the Church's reputation overall. Catholic legislators should simply refuse to vote one way or the other on abortion issues, and Catholic judges should recuse themselves from abortion cases. When asked about their position, they should say, "I accept the teaching of the Church, but I believe this is not a matter for government to decide. So I will neither vote for nor against abortion."

On the pro-abortion side, it could be argued that such a stand weakens their support. And it does, but then, they should vote for non-Catholic governance. On the anti side, a refusal to stop murder could be construed as sin. But there are Protestants willing to do the heavy lifting on this issue. Given the Catholic Church's long history of forcing religion down the throats of captive peoples, they have some image repair to do, and this is one way to do it.

So...tell me why this won't work.

Spanish for failed Don Juans

Last night, I was bored with the music in the car, so I popped in a cassette of Berlitz' Spanish for Travelers. I mean, why not improve myself, given that my Spanish is limited to numbers, West Side commercial signs, and the occasional obscenity? But I was shocked to encounter a section on if you're going to make meaningful contact with phrasebook Spanish. It's hard enough in English(as in the story of the English lad who made a breakfast date with an American girl and said "I'll knock you up in the morning"-- which got his face slapped.) There was "May I buy you a drink?" and the cigarette-lighting gambit (a bit dated...hey, it's a CASSETTE). I guess 12 zodiac signs were too much to learn. And there were a few moderately-forward comments and requests. Strikingly, all the material seemed to "assume the sale" and that the dater would have no trouble. I suppose that in the event of trouble one could go into "No hablo Espanol" mode and press bravely forward, but such behavior is boorish at best, and in the extreme is criminal. And it's hard to pull off in a language where "no" means "no".

So here are my nominations for useful phrases we might hear. Readers might contribute translations, or their own favorites.

For beating a hasty retreat:
"I need to go home to my ten children."
"I need to help my husband clean his guns."

To indicate unavailability:
"I'm having my period" (a classic from my college days...guys would compare notes, and there were apparently women with serious gynecological issues.)
"I have AIDS" (when the above isn't final enough.)
"I'm sorry, I'm a lesbian."

Or the insulting:
"Is that a cockroach in your pocket, or are you glad to see me?"
"I'm sorry, I'm not a lesbian"

John Edwards, pick up the clue phone

"I'm going to be honest with you -- I don't know a lot about Cuba's healthcare system," Edwards, D-N.C., said at an event in Oskaloosa, Iowa. "Is it a government-run system?"

This was 3 days after he said he'd watched Michael Moore's Sicko.

I guess the important question for Edwards is: can you sue the Cuban system for malpractice?

Your neighbor can figure out how you voted

Thanks to Ohio's open records law, you can get a list of poll sign-ins (in order) and a time-stamped record of who voted.As James Moyer of Columbus (if it's the one I know, a great guy)figured out, you can merge the two lists, and figure out how individuals voted.

This shouldn't be hard to fix. All we need is for Preacher Man to issue an Executive Order voiding that part of Ohio law, and preventing voting records from being made public. I mean, they're going to steal the elections anyway, so why do we need to check?

Preacher Man don't need no steenkin' bill.

I guess that Gov. Strickland decided that he didn't need a bill to ban those evil gambling machines, that he could do it all with an executive order. Hey, aren't those the things that get Democrats all in a lather when W. uses them?

Well, Ohio, that's what you get when you vote in a clergyman.

Drug test the whole town!

In Oregon, that paradise of individuality, they can now do drug tests on an entire community at once via their wastewater. Of course, they incriminate no individual user. But they can let the police know which drugs to look out for, and when.

Cities in the experiment ranged from 17,000 to 600,000 in population, but Field declined to identify them, saying that could harm her relationship with the sewage plant operators.

Duh, I wonder why?
I'm sorry, but even in the aggregate, drug use is nobody's business. But if we're going to aggregate, let's aggregate guilt too. Let each town being tested boycott any business or school with a zero-tolerance drug use policy...since after all, "everyone is guilty."

Debtors Junker's prison

A Cape St. Claire man is behind bars for failing to clean up his junk-filled back yard, officials said.

Apparently, it's not his yard then, but the city government's yard. If they're going to claim constructive ownership anyway, why don't they just eminent-domain it and force the complaining neighbors to buy it...whether they can afford it or not?

WND goes tabloid on Alltel

WorldNetDaily wants to be considered the journalistic equal of the mainstream media. Then they publish crap like this, in which a snark about the pentagram earrings in the new Alltel ad prefaces a bunch of guilt-by-association equating Alltel with Clinton and the Commie Chinese.

So what's the big deal with pentagram earrings as opposed to, say, dove earrings? Those huge pents offend my fashion sense, and I would tend to think less of somebody who was that in-your-face about their religion, no matter what it was. But I can't divine any symbolic message, other than general with-it-ness.

All told, it makes me proud to be an Alltel customer...and less than proud to be a WND reader.

Ron Jeremy: making a list and checking it twice.

You know, it's just possible that some newspaper might hire somebody who is under legal working age. Not likely, but some hot homeschool kid, hey, ya never know. So why shouldn't the Federal government have a comprehensive database of journalists? For the children, you know?

My wife asks, "How do I get on the list?" She thinks that every woman in the country should get herself registered as a porn actress, just to gum up the works.

Thank you, Mr. Beck.

Yee-HA! Symphony premiere May 18

I just called Cleve Svetlik about doing the Composers Guild recordings again this season, and he said, "Bonnie [his wife, flutist in the Suburban Symphony] wants to talk to you." She'd been a major instigator in the CCG partnership with Suburban, and mine were the only parts from that which were not returned. But I got the official word: Suburban will premiere the Symphony in D May 18, on a program including Barber's School for Scandal and Knoxville: Summer of 1915, and Still's Afro-American Symphony. Stiff competition, but it's really a very different piece in its basic premises, so it should work well.

RIP GreenStone

Who? What?

GreenStone claimed it would deliver "de-politicized, de-polarized talk radio by women hosts for female listeners,” and Steinem said it would offer an alternative to current radio talk, which she described as "very argumentative, quite hostile, and very much male-dominated.”

Which may be why it only had 8 outlets, in small and mid-sized markets. I've got an email out to my wife, who listens to talk radio quite a bit (I have no time for it) to see if she ever heard of these folks. Certainly I never heard her say, "Oh, honey, now there's talk radio just for us womyn."

It sounds to me like they misunderstood the basic dynamic of talk radio. It's an adrenaline experience; it's supposed to piss people off. And that "argumentative, male-dominated" stuff is called "logic"; those unfamiliar with it might try it sometime.

Lukas observes: "Perhaps Ness should use her time off to tune in to other stations. She’ll find there are many prominent women on the airwaves – they’re just not saying what she thinks they should.”

More (negative) background to the network here, including this pungent comment:

Note the subtle stereotyping: Women don't really want to discuss news and politics, so a network that caters to them has to lure them in with fluffy celebrity chat and shopping and decorating tips. It may be an accurate stereotype, but it's interesting to see uber-butch feminists embracing it.

Thanks to Boortz.

British and American rights: un mot.

From email:

An Englishman wrote:
I have no knowledge of the US rights,

They're the ones the British used to have, but forgot to write down. We Americans wrote them down, but forgot how to read. So we're very much in the same boat.

Apple: building new Windoze users

My computer died Tuesday night. I came home to find it off, and it stayed off, regardless of what I did to assure that power was getting to it. I couldn't deal with it Weds. as I had a mass to sing, but I decided I would get it fixed yesterday. I looked at the list of authorized Apple repair places, found that the Apple Store in Legacy Village was the closest, and decided I would drop it there. I guess I missed the part about "make a reservation" because, I mean, who makes reservations for repairs? Like I'm going to sit in the lobby watching bad daytime TV while the mechanic changes my tires?

So I get there, and in the back they have the "Genius Bar" with a stylized atom over it. A tad twee, no? And 3 people at terminals, and screens above them with names, and the words "All Mac geniuses are booked for today; please come back tomorrow." But I don't get it. Some guy shows me how to make an appointment onscreen, but the first one is on Saturday. And they had something about first-come, first-served. So I figure I can wait around. So finally, this woman talks to me. I'm kind of steamed by this point, and she's really trying to play nice, so she tells me I can be put on standby in case anyone cancels. So I do that. After about an hour with my name not showing up on that screen, just when I'm ready to walk, she admitted to me that I probably wouldn't be seen.
"Would you like to make an appointment for Saturday?
"No, I would not like to make an appointment for Saturday; I live 50 miles away, and I don't come into town on Saturday if I can avoid it."
"So what do you want to do?"
"I don't know what I want to do." This was the actual truth, though at that point, "Go shopping for a Windoze machine" was a definite possibility. I apologized for being tense, and said she was really trying to be sweet. Then I heard the magic words, "You could try Micro Center".

Some minutes later, after fighting the Mayfield construction, there I was. There were 2 folks ahead of me in the line, but they were dealt with promptly and courteously, as was I. I paid my $65 diagnostic fee, was warned that "It might be as much as 24 hours before a tech can look at it, because we're pretty backed up." (which beats 36 hours just to talk to somebody). 17 hours later, I got called with a preliminary diagnosis of blown power supply (duh, that's what I thought) and an estimate. And I'm on my way.

I have been using Macs for longer than a substantial portion of ipod users have been using air. I started with the Plusses at Cleveland State. My first Mac of my own was a Mac II with a big horking B & W monitor, supported by a 3rd party video card (it was a salvaged CAD machine from my wife's job). Eventually the monitor blew, and it wasn't economical to buy one to fit the card, or to buy a new card and cheap monitor. So I got a Performa 68040, an emac G3, and the current imac G5. Neither previous computer had given me any trouble; they were replaced because of Finale feature creep; they just weren't powerful enough. But the current imac has always whined. I thought it was bad engineering until I got the same machine for my desktop at work and found it was silent. Maybe that will get fixed too. Unfortunately, the serial number is too late for the power supply recall.

To summarize: I'm a very faithful customer, one Apple can't afford to lose. I fault the shop girl for encouraging false hope, and the Web designer for lack of emphasis on a way-non-standard process. How about "You must make an appointment"? As I told the help, if I had known I needed to make an appointment, I would have made one.

Oddly, I've been thinking of picking up a cheap (i.e., not by Apple) notebook. Not only would it give me portability, but I could get used to working with Gates-ware and answer all my dad's questions. (Yes, we run Windows on the front terminals, but I run Windows apps, I don't run Windows, if you see the difference.) And I'm sure I'll be getting a new Mac someday. But why let me even consider the alternative?

VA Tech buys off victims

RICHMOND -- Virginia Tech will offer the families of the 32 students and faculty members slain by Seung-Hui Cho a one-time payment of up to $180,000 from a fund used to solicit private donations in the weeks following the April 16 massacre, the administrator of the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund announced yesterday.

I don't get it. Is this an admission of liability? If so, it looks good for those who'd want to use the courts to get even more. I suppose they can just play nice with contributor's money...but I can't imagine this ending well for them.

Tikhon Khrennikov is dead

at his home, age 94. There are those who would find such a late and serene passage to be not commensurate with that of Meyerhold or Mikhoels.But in a sense the torture was more exquisite: he lived to view the judgment of history.

Looking around on the Web, it was interesting to see the attempts to rehabilitate Khrennikov, making much of his flirtation with serialism in his Third Symphony (about the time that Shostakovich was doing similar things, and 6 years before his denunciation of the "Khrennikov Seven"), and claiming that it was Khrennikov who saved the ilk of Shostakovich and Vainberg from the fate of the actors noted above. This claim is good enough for Grove, but I'd like to see relevant USSR archives in its support; if it was Khrennikov's claim, it would resemble Carl Orff's claim to have been a member of the White Rose. And always, there's the implication if not the outright claim that he had to play along with the zhdanovschina. I'm willing to cut him the tiniest bit of slack with Stalin, but not with Brezhnev.

So it got him a peaceful life, and a boatload of medals. Shostakovich, his principal victim, is arguably the most beloved composer of the 20th century. At least two of the Khrennikov Seven are internationally renowned as leading Russian composers of their generation. Is Khrennikov's music unfairly neglected? I wish I could answer that. But I couldn't find any Khrennikov on Naxos Music Library (which has everyone nowadays), and Case Kulas Library has one donated LP. I think it cosmically just that the man who judged composers by their ideology is now himself judged by his.

"Rigid formalism"

That's what San Fran supervisor Gerardo Sandoval called it when 3rd-generation Chinese-American Ed Jew voted against a hate speech resolution against Michael Savage, on First Amendment grounds. And it is a First Amendment issue. The Board of Supervisors members can say anything they want individually. When they act as a Board, if they're condemning somebody's speech, they're suppressing it, even if they don't have a law to beat the speaker with...because, don't worry, they'll find one. Which would be kind of ironic, given that Savage's "hate speech" seems to be "I want the government to enforce the law." I'm appalled that only one out of ten supervisors broke ranks on this. I've got to wonder if Jew's "rigid formalism" extends to the rest of the Constitution...the 2nd Amendment, for instance.

Paging Papa Ratzi

Your Holiness:

You may want to have a chat with one of your bishops in the tolerant land of Holland, who thinks that Dutch Catholics should pray to Allah, so as not to offend Muslims. After all, Arabic-speaking Christians do. But that's their generic word for Mr. No-name. The Dutch word is "god". And let's not forget that Mr. No-name got a name when He came to earth. Which is something Allah hasn't managed yet.

The Dutch bishop ... predicted that within a century or two, Dutch Catholics would be addressing prayers to "Allah."

Of that I have no doubt...mostly because they will all have been forced to accept Islam.

PS 8/18:
Benny...while you're at it, remind him that the Bible does not say "Thou shalt not steal, unless thou art really hungry", and that if God wants popes term-limited, He's perfectly capable of limiting their terms.

Rove: who cares?

OK, I haven't said anything about Karl Rove, because he really doesn't matter. Nobody has seen the President wandering around with a Celsius-room-temperature IQ because "his brain" has left him. Reactions here have been muted, but then our favorite adjunct-professor-of-moonbattery hasn't been in. I really don't see anything changing.

Richard Viguerie thinks that Rove mattered, but not the way they do at the Kos. He blames Rove for everything leftish that Bush did, for playing the conservative base like a cheap violin. If he's right, then the DUmmies should be sad that he's going, as he did so much to elect Clinton femme.

OMG! A DA who insists on evidence!

The cops in Victoria Co., TX are unhappy with District Attorney Steve Tyler because he's turning down 36% of their adult cases..and HALF of their juvies.

"If you cannot do your duty, you need to resign and give the duty to someone who can," Tyler said."What they got used to is not having to comply with the law. It shows me they're not willing to do anything that's costly and inconvenient. They think I'm giving them hell. I'm telling them the truth, and they just think it's hell.If they don't know the law, they need to learn it. I'm more than willing to help them. If they don't do that, there's no way to fix this. I function according to the law."

Aside from the little problem of the jails being full while the cops do their homework, I'm so not-sympathetic to their complaint.

The unmentionable candidate

I finally found out who #5 in the Iowa straw poll was, with 9.1% of the vote. I knew all Sunday that Ron Paul didn't make the Big 3 (at least, after Diebold got done with him), but I had to wait to read Vox Day's blog to know who # 4 and 5 were.

There's an entertaining eyewitness account from "farmer Tom" in the comments, including this:

On the other hand, if you have big bucks, Romany had them, then all you had to do to win was get the bodies, warm breathing but unthinking bodies to vote. Romany had buses from every one of the 99 counties in Iowa and large counties had more than one. He had also rented over a hundred golf carts. His strategy was very simple, get as many old geezers as you can, give them a free ride to Ames, don't make them walk from the parking to the event, feed them the best food in town, Hickory Park Barbecue, then carry their stuffed, portly ass over to the voting machine. Along with this plan, never mention change in any other than rhetorical fashion, so mr and mrs geezer think the SS and medicare checks will keep coming, and ta da you gots yourself a winner.

This sounds so much like the Republican I'm closest to (who voted Bush in the primaries). It's a bit unfair to call them "unthinking" -- they've thought through exactly what's best for them. The barbecue is just a foretaste of the Big Gravy Train to come. the Eucharist of Socialist Salvation.

Sure, I'm disappointed that Paul didn't do better. But he's still in the game, to the extent that the media allow him to be.

Why Ford is going down the tubes

The United States should consider implementing a European-style gasoline tax if it hopes to deal with energy security and global warming, the head of Ford Motor Co. said Wednesday.

"The way to get at is to make an economic decision just like in Europe where the fuel prices are seven or eight dollars a gallon," Ford chief executive officer Alan Mulally said. "Then our behavior would change dramatically."

Well, yes. We'd be doing less driving, which means less wear on our cars, and more people entirely doing without. And this is the guy in charge of Ford's bottom line? Whether right or wrong, he's not the guy that should be saying it.

The Other White Meat plays family court judge

A knock on the door in the middle of the night, and two Sagamore Hills Township police officers stood before Somier McLaughlin. They wanted to talk about her refusal to let her ex-husband -- a Summit County sheriff's lieutenant -- leave the country with their daughter.

McLaughlin had set conditions for the trip: The only way the 8-year-old could go to the Dominican Republic for her father's wedding was if both mother and daughter had passports. The girl now had hers; McLaughlin, who wanted a way to reach her child in case of emergency, did not.

So McLaughlin held her ground in the face of authority as a third officer arrived. She cursed the officers and ordered them to go. Leave they did -- with McLaughlin handcuffed in the back of a police car.

I suppose we should be thankful that they knocked at 1 AM instead of breaking down the door with a SWAT team. Let's look at the facts:
1. McLaughlin was the custodial parent.
2. The police admitted they did not have a court order, a warrant or any document from Domestic Relations Court mandating that Smith take the child when they arrived that morning.
3. "The midnight knock" is totally inappropriate when discussing child custody issues.
4. Since in fact the police had no legal business in a non-criminal's home at 1 AM, they should have left when requested.
5. Even though Sagamore police are an independent unit, I doubt they would have done this had the father and stepmother-to-be not been police officers.
6. Per the story, at the time of arrest McLaughlin had done nothing more than verbally abuse police. If abusing police is an arrestable offense in the land of free speech, I fully expect to be removed from my office today on account of this post. The alleged kick to the groin (are there independent witnesses? Medical evidence?) occurred after the arrest.

I don't know what or if the grand jury was thinking, but had I been on it, even if I had found probable cause, I would have been trying to charge the police as well.

Hillary's poster child for the housing bubble

Here is the sad tale of Kristi Schofield, who just lost her home.

Both Jim Geraghty and Billy Beck focus on these folks not appearing to have a clue as to what an adjustable rate mortgage is. Ok, granted, that's inexcusable. But let's look at the beginning. The initial payment on the ARM was $2400. Assuming half of income (not half of take-home) went to housing (a pretty damn lean budget), service on this loan would require an annual family income of $58,000. How many $58K jobs are out there? I've never made that much. Our first year of marriage, when Rusty was still at WCI, we made more than that. But if something had happened to either of us, we wouldn't have been able to keep up payments. So at their lowest payment, they were buying a rich man's house. Now, under the same givens, they need to be making $144K. But from the beginning, they were living beyond their means. It wasn't some accident of the housing market. And these are the people Hillary wants to bail out: gamblers. Why doesn't she just go to Vegas and hand out taxpayer money?

Kristi wrote in to Geraghty, but hasn't yet given permission to publish, so maybe we'll get the other side of the story. But the numbers don't lie.

NYC Council bitched off

The New York City Council, which drew national headlines when it passed a symbolic citywide ban earlier this year on the use of the so-called n-word, has turned its linguistic (and legislative) lance toward a different slur: bitch.

The term is hateful and deeply sexist, said Councilwoman Darlene Mealy of Brooklyn, who has introduced a measure against the word, saying it creates “a paradigm of shame and indignity” for all women.

Reactions have not been universally positive:

They may not have been the kinds of reaction that Ms. Mealy, a Detroit-born former transit worker serving her first term, was expecting. “They buried the n-word, but what about the other words that really affect women, such as ‘b,’ and ‘ho’? That’s a vile attack on our womanhood,” Ms. Mealy said in a telephone interview. “In listening to my other colleagues, that they say that to their wives or their friends, we have gotten really complacent with it.”

Having grown up in Michigan, I can tell you that Detroit is an unsung nexus of insanity. Just what does this bitch lady think she's doing in passing an unenforceable law? I'd like to see the NYC cops go to a rap concert and start making arrests. Does she think she will change attitudes towards women by symbolic or even effective acts? If people can't use the b-word, they'll use the c-word (which of course is "chienne"). This is clearly an attempt at establishing thoughtcrime.

Scott Jordan of, who alerted me to this, says "It's just in time for Hillary". But we don't need to protect the junior senator from New York from such aspersions. Since Bill is such a notorious horndog, it therefore follows that Hillary must be a bitch. Do you really want to contemplate the alternative?

It's enough to make you barf

...this flashlight is. Brought to you by the Department of Homeland Security, makers of "Project X" and "Project F"..."Taxpayers are too precious to kill."

For home protection, I think I'd really rather clean up blood than puke.

Michael Savage: healer??

Before he was a star of national talk radio, Michael Savage was a doctor of nutritional ethno-medicine, a scholar in the fields of medical botany and medical anthropology....Savage is a parent, too, and the author of a remarkable 17 books on the subject of health and nutrition.

So saith WorldNetDaily, while shilling the remainders of Savage's Healing Children Naturally, which has a total of TWO holdings on WorldCat. And a search under author "Michael Savage" on keywords "health" and "nutrition" (just in case there was a bibliographically different Michael Savage from the notorious "Michael Savage 1942-") brought up nothing else.

Ah, but something in that record brought me to Michael Savage's authority record, and it turns out he "is the same person as" Michael A. Weiner, who did publish a number of natural healing books. God only knows why he went into talk radio, but clearly. being a talker with the name Weiner would not do. As James Taranto says, "It's the eponymy, stupid!"

Sheikhdown of Cambridge University Press

Publication by Cambridge University Press has suddenly lost a lot of its cachet.

As for the library copies, I know of no academic library which allows outside parties to decide what they will keep on the shelf. Maybe the Sheikh should hire some agents to steal the books; I'd love to see a few of them charged and put away.

Welcome to another sordid chapter of The Endarkenment.

Farm subsidy database

Thanks to my bud Andee (who I don't usually think of as being into ag issues, but she's dirt poor and bitched off about this), I discovered the Environmental Working Group's Farm Subsidy Database. I'm not prepared to render judgement on the 15 people in Windham who collect farm subsidies (esp. Carletta Bervish's $ lame is that?) except for the usual observation that these people are recipients of stolen goods. But I was pleased that nobody on the list was named Yoder, Byler, or Miller.

No comment yet on the new ag bill; that's a turd it's going to take me awhile to pass. But I'll say it again: the only problem with American ag policy is that we have one.

Hook Lord Baden-Powell to a generator

...he's spinning in his grave fast enough to power all of Kenya:

Some 300 modern-day Scouts (the word Boy was dropped in the 1960s) settled down to a meal prepared in a 'kitchen marquee' and consisting entirely of vegetarian food - so as not to offend any religious faiths.


Hundreds of solar powered lights line the walk ways across the island to avoid anyone tripping over tent pegs, and each cluster of tents is illuminated by strings of electric lights powered by generators.

David Massen, a Scout leader from Bradford, said last night: "A lot has changed with the way Scouting works since 1907.

"The principles are still the same but society has changed.

"For example, Baden-Powell could just take his Scouts out on a boat for a fishing trip, whereas if I want to do the same I have to take a two-hour training session and write a four-page risk assessment statement."

The principles are not the same:

Baden-Powell wrote his original military training book, Aids To Scouting, because he saw the need for the improved training of British military-enlisted scouts, particularly in initiative, self-reliance, and observational skills. The book's popularity with young boys surprised him.

Mama: the other retirement plan

And while we're discussing Italian men, who are generally considered by Americans to be paragons of masculinity, how you like this guy? At 61, his mama should be living with him, not vice-versa.

God love the Italians

Can you imagine a Republican saying this?:

So politicians in the UDC do not make love? Of course, I recognize Christian values. But what has that got to do with going with a prostitute? It is a personal matter. This affair has nothing to do with family values. I cannot be branded a bad father and a bad husband simply because after five or six days away from home, an occasion presented itself.

That was Cosimo Mele, 50, (now former) Christian Democrat UDC MP, caught with 2 hos and a bag of blow.

I can't praise what he did. But a wise woman once said to me, "If you ain't proud, don't be it." I don't see a lot of shame there.

Ex-stockbroker caught in halfway house!

Oh, the humanity! The Pee Dee has its knickers in a twist because the evil scammer Frank Gruttadauria was sent to a halfway house, and he got a job! Prosecutor Bill Mason said that he was "working a scam on the federal prison system."

Uh, no. This is what often happens with non-violent offenders. They have to make room for more drug dealers. The Feds didn't think he was special, not like James Traficant or anything. How would they know not to let him out?

Now don't get me wrong; I think that Frank should rot in hell. But tell me, how does keeping him in the can help anyone? I'm sure that working for $7 an hour is punishment enough for such a high roller. And he'll be doing it for his next 50 incarnations before he pays back all the people he defrauded. Since we can't sell him into indentured servitude, letting him work is the least we can do for the victims.

I suspect the real outrage is because he's had conjugal visits with his ex. Far better that he fire the surgeon general in some dank cell, with a female guard spying on him and pressing charges, eh?