Saturday, December 31, 2005

How's that foot taste, paT?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you, Hurricane Zeke!!!

yeah yeah, so it's just a tropical storm right now...give it time...

New Year's Butt Whoopin'

Second Civil War is back from vacation, and he starts 2006 with a broadside against 2005. If you've read his stuff before, you know that a lot of this is going to be political in nature, but he lets 'em have it like his name was Captain Jack Aubrey.

Speaking of New Year's Resolutions, in my opinion, the theme for 2006 should be "Ratchet Down the Jackassery." The phrase was coined by SAWB, so he gets the credit here, but I'm all for making it the mantra. I'm gonna try and balance my traditional southern heritage of hellraisin' with not being the jackass that I usually is, so we'll see how it goes.

But we'll start something new on this blog: Jackass of the month awards. Anyone can nominate 'em, and we'll post the top 5 at the end of every month and let y'all vote. How does that sound?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Impeachment Proceedings

Some of y'all may want to swing by and take a gander. On the Glynn Democrats page I'm trying to see what specific laws my Democrats think this President should be impeached for. The Post & Comments.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Ex parte Milligan

and other civil liberty news

This started out as a comment concerning SAWB's last article, and it grew up. You see, he's more libertarian than anything else. From what he said, I take it that he has a problem with what the Administration in Washington is doing, as many Americans who rightly fear too much government and the Imperial Presidency tend to do. On this, he and I are usually in agreement.

What I wonder about, however, is his line of reasoning. That we gentle Americans ought not get ourselves worked up by the Administration's activities because of Presidents in the past, and their activities concerning our Civil Liberties, have been similar. He quotes a National Review article that draws comparisons to what Clinton did back in 1995, and what Abraham Lincoln did back in 1862.

I wonder how much water these arguments hold every time I hear the right (like the National Review or Townhall) invoke the "well, Clinton did it..." defense on any topic, and especially when they bring up Abraham Lincoln's activity that the Supreme Court later declared violently anti-Constitutional.

When these words come from Libertarians I wonder if I am worked up enough about this Administration. Two quick things: alarm bells are ringing, and I thought we were supposed to at least try not to repeat history.

We'll start with the oldest history, and work our way back.

First thing's first. Define irony. We are actually a nation today because we got fed up with a guy named George violating our civil liberties, among other things.

Second, we’ll touch on this "Lincoln did it, it must be OK" thing. (I'm getting a lot of this from Cornell Law Schools' online US code archives, as they are the folks that the FISA links actually take me to...)

The Constitutional Rights Foundation actually has class on just this topic. From this:
The actual right of habeas corpus is not stated anywhere in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. The authors of these documents apparently believed that habeas corpus was such a fundamental liberty that it needed no further guarantee in writing. The only mention of the writ of habeas corpus in the Constitution relates to when it can be taken away from judges. In a section limiting the powers of Congress (Art. I, Sec. 9), the Constitution states: "The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in causes of rebellion or invasion of the public safety may require it."


Though SCOTUS didn’t touch this until after the War, they were pretty clear on what they had to say about it in the Ex parte Milligan decision. This from Cornell Law School's archive presenting text of the case itself:
Military commissions organized during the late civil war, in a State not invaded and not engaged in rebellion, in which the Federal courts were open, and in the proper and unobstructed exercise of their judicial functions, had no jurisdiction to try, convict, or sentence for any criminal offence, a citizen who was neither a resident of a rebellious State nor a prisoner of war, nor a person in the military or naval service. And Congress could not invest them with any such power.
The guaranty of trial by jury contained in the Constitution was intended for a state of war, as well as a state of peace, and is equally binding upon rulers and people at all times and under all circumstances.


Not a lot of wiggle room there.

A more easy to read definition can be found in Wikipedia.
The Supreme Court decided that the suspension of habeas corpus was unconstitutional because civilian courts were still operating, and the Constitution of the United States only provided for suspension of habeas corpus if these courts are actually forced closed. In essence, the court ruled that military tribunals could not try civilians in areas where civil courts were open, even during wartime."


Well, I reckon that pretty much sums up the problem with 'enemy combatants' as well. Who needs to worry about the Geneva Convention when US law already has precedent?

Now back to the future. First of all, I have severe issues with the damn media not doing their jobby jobs, National Review and otherwise, by not actually reading the law to us. The same can, in interest of balance, be said about the Democrats attacking this Adminstration by saying he's being 'bad' and the Republicans defending the Administration by saying "it's perfectly legal."

I know the law is big reading, fellas, but that's why you get paid.

I have a severe issue with this Administration running rampant concerning our laws. Why folks like me worry about this sort of thing is because the law he is breaking (at least as far as I read it) is this subchapter of the Foregin Intelligence Surveillance Act. (again, I couldn't find any site outside Cornell's very fine LII archives with this text readily available, I'll have to keep looking to replace this, but I'll go with it now.) The law of the land.
Notwithstanding any other law, the President, through the Attorney General, may authorize electronic surveillance without a court order under this subchapter to acquire foreign intelligence information for a period not to exceed fifteen calendar days following a declaration of war by the Congress.


I guess the Administration's wishing they'd a got that 'Declaration of War' thingy now, 'cause the 'Authorization of Force' bill is looking pretty thin.

As for Clinton’s application of physical searches, executive order linked for us by SAWB, those were a completely different Chapter, and it don't look like what he did (at least in this instance) would be illegal. I would direct you to Chapter 36, Subchapter II “S” 1822.


What this Administration has to worry about now is the penalty for violating FISA:

(a) Prohibited activities
A person is guilty of an offense if he intentionally—
(1) engages in electronic surveillance under color of law except as authorized by statute; or
(2) discloses or uses information obtained under color of law by electronic surveillance, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through electronic surveillance not authorized by statute.
(c) Penalties
An offense described in this section is punishable by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than five years, or both.
(d) Federal jurisdiction
There is Federal jurisdiction over an offense under this section if the person committing the offense was an officer or employee of the United States at the time the offense was committed.


Federal Jurisdiction over the offense if the person committing the violation was an officer of the United States at the time the offense was committed......nice speech last night, by the way. I guess now we get to find the statute that authorized this Administration to act in the ways it did.

But don’t take my word on any of this, (as we saw with the Tocqueville quote) you can view the incredibly extensive Foreign Intelligence Surveilance Act archive by clicking here.

Honest Abe, warrant-less spying, and you...

Ok kids, before you hyperventilators get all dizzy and stuff, here's some fast facts.

William Jefferson 'Slick Willie' Clinton authorized the same sort of warrant-free searches in 1994, that George W. 'Dubya' Bush authorized sometime in 2004 apparrently. Don't believe me? Click here, and here.

Second, the suspension of constitutional rights in the interest of preserving the nation go back, way back, beyond the Carter administration. Try Lincoln.

During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln used his presidential power to violate three constitutional rights. He suspended the writ of Habeas Corpus, he outlawed and then used the military to suppress peaceful anti-war protests, and he declared war without congressional approval.

Did he do it for "security?" Nope, he said he did it for the constitutional right of the country's "self-preservation."

Do I agree with warrantless wiretaps, searches, and the like? No. Do I think that President Bush should face the fire for this one? Yep. Would I love to see Bill Clinton have to face up to this one as well? Oh hell yes. Do I think the latter will ever happen? Not a chance.

Point is kids, this spying on our own citizens thing goes way back. So does the President ducking the rule of law in order to preserve the union. Try to not get so worked up. I'm sure there's a seal clubbing or something you can go protest if you're just too full of pent-up, misplaced rage...

UPDATE
As this information has reached me, so it shall reach you.
Dateline: Carter Administration
Re: Electronic Intelligence Without a Court Order

Yeah...it's old news, I know, but for some reason, we're just now getting the old news.

Keep Your Eyes Peeled

Some New Orleans news.

(by patsbrother)

Tonight, on CBS, presumably between 6.30pm and 7pm, you may be able to catch a glimpse of paT and I's uncle Elmore. CBS taped an interview with him and may show part of it. He is Chief Medical Officer(?) for Catholic Charities in New Orleans. He has white hair, cool bushy-black eyebrows, and ususally a black mustache. He is also, incidentally, a really good cook.

If you are offended by the construction of the first- and second-person possessive constructive "pat and I's", I apologize. I saw this much as I originally viewed last year's election and voted for the least worst. The other candidates were "my and paT's" and "mine and paT's" and both of those sounded retarded. That is all.

(Sprout, you do know that you can actually make posts to this blog, don't you? News like this is why I enabled you to be a 'contributor.' I found this in the comments section of a completely different post - the one on Iraq where we're now talking about Tocquville.)

Monday, December 19, 2005

The New York Whines (3)

Their one fact-checked item.

Their official blog is called The Carpetbagger?!?

At least they got that right.

The War at Home

Over the War in Iraq

I almost completely agree with Glenn Reynolds today, which doesn't happen often.
Bush obviously thinks that by the 2006 Congressional elections, and especially the 2008 Presidential election, it will be obvious that we've won in Iraq, and he wants to make sure that the Democrats can be portrayed as defeatists and losers

But to me, the Democrats' seemingly schizophrenic attitudes towards the war in Iraq and the broader war on terror, reflect the true and deep divisions we have about it as a nation. This was a gamble, plain and simple, and the President and the right will take credit for a win that they don't really deserve. I'll get back to that in a minute. Required reading comes first.

Now, SAWB, Sprout and I can get into it with inane comments all day long, but I think this is best explained by two very smart bloggers I read almost every day. The first selection is from Tucker (scroll down for the specific post, it looks like MSNBC ain't helpin' again) when he says:
There's a consensus among the media that the war was a mistake from the beginning and that Bush's handling of it has been inept. I share that view.
...
I had a long e-mail exchange about it today with a reporter friend of mine. He's a conservative who, partly based on what he saw first-hand in Iraq, has become violently disenchanted with the Bush administration's handling of the war. Here's how he concluded his last e-mail: "If Bush ends up being right about Iraq, it will be through luck and accident and God's grace, not through any skillful calculation of his own. Success there will make him a great president the way Powerball makes crackheads rich: they have the money to show for it, but they're not fooling anyone."
...
But it almost doesn't matter. A disaster in Iraq would be a disaster for the United States. Pray for success, no matter who's responsible for it.
...
(I put the bold on Tucker's most important words there, 'cause those are the ones I want you to keep in mind.)


The second selection comes from Matt Ortega over at Second Civil War. I don't know why this cat isn't more popular. He discusses the election in Iraq as well as his overall feelings on the whole of the situation:
Let's go back in time to October 2002...I was following the news - Congressional authorization for force, United Nations resolution (and subsequent non-support by the U.N.). I knew about the blood on Saddam Hussein's hands. I bought into the weapons of mass destruction claims. I wanted to free a nation of people whom I believed that lived in fear under his rule....I never really believed [the Iraq - al Quaeda] connection but I thought, "Hey what do I know? They have all the intel experts." Still, I thought the war was worth fighting. I still remember how happy I felt for the Iraqis on April 1, 2003 when they were rejoicing in the toppling of Saddam's rule by tearing down his statue. I genuinely felt very happy for them that I could not hold back a big smile. I was proud to be supporting a cause I felt was worth fighting for...
...
Fast-forward to the next summer as it was discovered Saddam did not have ties to al-Qaeda nor 9/11. Ever since then, my support has waned.

Do I want to see a successful democracy in Iraq? Yes, of course I do. When the U.S. finally pulls out of Iraq, I want to know that we did something. I want to know for myself that my support for the war in the beginning was not a total loss. I want to be assured that the lives of several thousand Americans, and tens of thousands of Iraqis did not perish in vain.

However, I still have questions about the war that must be answered...
(Again, I emboldened what I thought were the most important words.)


That's something I don't think a lot of the activist left really gets (but they don't really get anything, they're just loud and obnoxious). And Lord knows the Democrats are just as split as the rest of the country on what in the world to do now. Dems are making a mistake by saying 'we can't win,' because we have to. Almost everyone I talk to agrees with that. Though, I think Mr. Murtha's contention that it is our own troops on the ground that is causing the insurgency is worth examining, many of us know that we can't just leave. That line of debate is suicide for Democrats, plain and simple, and here's why:

I think a lot of Americans feel lied to and decieved, and we've had second thoughts about going to Iraq. I know that I thought the war was a bad idea before it started, I think it has been run terribly by this administration both at home and abroad, and I think that the only reason we have a chance at winning is because the folks wearing the boots and guns are holding together an entire country with bailing wire, duct tape, blood, sweat and sheer willpower. I know plenty of conservatives who now wish we hadn't gone (who have asked to specifically remain nameless). But one thing we all understand, and have reached a broad American Consensus on, is that we've got to win this one.

The question is: how? That's where we start arguing.

Dems have got to lock themselves into a room and not come out until they decide that, no matter what it takes, no matter how long, we win Iraq. Then we let the Administration do their victory laps and hang themselves with the American people, cause this war has become a chore that Bush got us into.

Ol' Dubya's still Commander in Chief, so he's still in charge. But he's gotten us in an unholy mess, and isn't really helping us out of it either. 'Stay the course' is not a plan. That tells me him and his people still haven't figured out what they got us into. He could set reasonable milestones instead of timeframes, and America would feel much more confident. Such as:

500,000 new Iraqi soldiers and police? Check.
100,000 Iraqi women soldiers and police? Check.
500,000 Iraqi soldiers or police finishing or enrolled in basic training? Check.
500,000 Iraqi soldiers with a rifle? Check.
500,000 Iraqi soldiers with a sidearm? Check.

(some of y'all may say 'he already said that.' No, I want them to only talk about reaching a milestone when it is reached, for an entire day, and dominate the news cycles with it. 'We're winning in Iraq,' is not the kind of thing I'm asking for.)

Milestones like that, though oversimplifications, would make me feel much better about this process. That would help the country get through this. The Democrats would do well to point out that we don't hear much about those milestones as we hear about 'fighting for freedom' and 'mission accomplished' and 'we're winning.' Ask for milestones not timeframes and we end up being part of the solution.

But when our people in boots and guns do win Iraq: ol' Dubya does not get the keys to the machine any more. We do not take him at his word once we are through this. We all know that 'boy that cried wolf' parable, and fool me once is shame on you.

If he wants to play war-President, he gets to ask for a straight up Declaration of War, a military draft and gasoline rations before we committ troops again. Either that, or he has to build a 150 nation, 500,000 strong coalition and apply the 'overwhleming force' of the undefeated Powell doctrine. That's what every Democrat who voted for this war has got to stand up and say. I don't care if I get drafted or if we start carpet bombing cities again a la Dresden. If we go to war after we win this one, we go in full bore.

And I'm tired of him invoking the 'War on Terror' to justify outrageous acts by the government. Libertarians should have broke with the right wing coalition this morning about 10:30 am. Yeah, I know y'all hate us hippies on the left, but incompetence is far better than malfeasance, wouldn't you agree? I guess not. (Strangely enough, my boy Glenn ends up on the wrong side of this one.

If we're going to wage a 'war on terror,' we've got to look at all aspects of terrorism, and not just the jingoistic us vs them crap. Right now, all we are doing is going after the effects of global terrorism, not the root causes. And before y'all give me any 'justification' nonsense, let me make this clear: there is no justification for terrorism, and that is exactly the reason why we must address why grown people are waking up in the morning and saying to themselves 'today would be a great day to die while attacking America.'

That's not a conclusion people come to under normal circumstances.

I, for one, really want to know how they come to think that. I can tell you it ain't cause they 'hate us for our freedoms.' The last Britney Spears album made me mad, too, but I didn't go out and act crazy. I just changed the radio staion. I want to know why they don't just change the station, I want to know why we have to deal with so much blowback.

Because if spying on ourselves is the answer, and pathetic attempts to justify it are our only answers from Washington, we simply cannot afford to continue running our foreign policy the way we have. We need to overhaul it up and down, I don't care what businesses get screwed. They ain't worth this. They just ain't worth this. We're looking at the monkey and we are not seeing the elephant.

And we get turned away by jingoism every time we ask. Well that just ended.

When our recourse is to justify illegal spying on Americans and argue that the person who told us we were being spied upon is acting ‘shameful,’ you know we've turned a big brother sized corner.

'Cause apparently, while we over at Super Secret Liberal Takeover HQ were planning our next invasion of Middle America, the folks at Rightwingers Against Really Real Reality (RARR) went ahead and did it! Not only that, but they had the audacity to tell us that we, the American people, can't actually be trusted not to be terrorists.

Are you kidding me?

And now almost yearly, we watch anti American candidates win elections (both accurate and sham) in Iran, Venezuela and now Bolivia where the Socialist Morales has promised to be Washington’s nightmare.

Washington's nightmare? We only used to hear that from blustery Eastern Bloc tin-hats who couldn't really touch us. Now its our own hemisphere? Now it is democracies voting for the anti-American candidate? Maybe we ought to stop backing bozos like the Shah, Diem, & Batista. (Musharraf, Mubarak, the Saudis come to mind).

As a matter of fact, almost yearly, we actually see underground American pop culture turn against American government for similar misguided aspects of domestic policy. Take, for instance, the stop snitchin’ T-shirts. There's a real good end to that story when it plays out, let me tell you.

What will happen when seething masses abroad don’t respect America and seething masses at home don’t respect America? Alexis De’Tocqueville said it best: “America is great because America is good. When America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

America still is good. But its the people driving the boat that are taking us dangerously close to foul waters.

(Update 12/20/05 Tocqueville might not technically have said any of that stuff though, but it is still a really good quote that has been attributed to Tocqueville forever. Damn French. Serves me right for trying to quote one of them anyway!)

Friday, December 16, 2005

The genius trifecta

There's a lot more I could throw into this one, kids, but for right now, these'll do...

First up, we have an Air Force Colonel who failed to follow the first law of vandalism. LOOK FOR CAMERAS AND WITNESSESS.

Next on the mensa list, a double-headed genius encounter. We have the host, and film crew of the TV Show 'Cheaters', apparrently assaulting a woman who was being confronted with evidence of her dalliances. Apparrently, the woman in question was filmed with a local police Captian, while the two were engaged in the creation of the four-armed moan-monster, inside an unmarked, city police car. Why, oh why, do I imagine the local Internal Affairs guys are going to acquire copies of these videotapes...

Last, we have the anti-smoking nuts. No longer is preventing consenting adults from lighting up in just about anywhere in public enough, now, these nutjobs feel their wrath must be sated on consenting adults smoking in the privacy of their own homes.

Now, i'm not a smoker. In fact, I go out of my way to mock smokers. If I feel that I am inhaling too much secondhand smoke, or that my child is being exposed to it, i'll move my child, or myself, provided that the smoker is within their legal right to smoke. I can see where it might be considered reasonable for someone to want to protect children from secondhand smoke, but you have to draw the line somewhere, otherwise, you open yourself up to a whole litany of potential legal challenges to things that would normally be perfectly legal. Keep alcohol in the house? Not if you have a kid there you won't. Watch TV? Better make sure your dial is permanently fixed on the kiddie channels.

Think i'm joking? This is exactly the sort of big-government intrusion that is slowly encroaching on the rights of all of us. At what point will people rise up and say, NO MORE! We can police ourselves just fine, thank you very much. You government types can go back to ensuring our right to keep exercising our personal freedoms to do what we like within the letter of the law...

Something tells me I'm not going to get much traction around here on the personal freedom track...

Battle Ready

Hope all y'all livin' to the north of the 31st parallel are safe and warm and not playin' slip and slide on icy roads. Now on to this Friday's big 'Revolt Roundup.'

The Iraqis had a revolt of their own this week, for any of us out there with our heads in the sand, where it didn't really matter who they voted for because every single individual who showed up at the polls was voting against terrorism just by being there. And with a voter turnout higher than most of our own elections, that could seriously be called a 'ringing endorsement.' That's a pretty important thing, probably a turning point in the war, and I'm kinda angry it still isn't front page news everywhere. That will be today's lead story.

Some folks want to point out that a lot of the Sunni population (and probably a significant number of Shi'a & Kurds) showed up to vote because it may get the U.S. out of Iraq quicker. I was really hoping that was the plan all along, and I'd like to say that I'm glad they're on board now. I may have to eat some serious crow for this one, but if this nation building experiment ends up with the Iraqis voting us out of the country, we (all Americans) win big. I'd much rather have them voting against us than shooting at our boys and girls in the green and guns.

Back on the homefront, while we've got a big win in Iraq, we may loose New Orleans. (Again, actually.) That's right, there's talk of civil disobedience by blockading the Mississippi river on Sunday.

It is time to make the historic Boston Tea Party merely a white glove affair. For the NEW ORLEANS FLOAT(ING) PARTY lets wear boxing gloves instead. NEW ORLEANS existed before it was part of the United States. It can do so again. Gentle Readers, it is time for revolt. And we hold the cards.


GulfSails points out that if the Florida Keys can get away with it by forming the Conch Republic by seceding from the Union, New Orleans may have a shot.

That's right folks, and this stuff was news to me, the Florida Keys/Conch Republic has warred with the United States of America three times since April 23, 1982.

After the complaints from the Key West City Council went unanswered by the Federal Government and attempts to get an injunction against the "blockade" failed in court, Key West mayor Dennis Wardlow and the city council declared the independence of the Conch Republic on April 23, 1982. Since the Federal Government had set up the equivalent of a border station as if the Keys were a foreign nation, they said, the Keys might as well become one. Mayor Wardlow was proclaimed Prime Minister of the republic, which declared war against the U.S. (symbolically breaking a loaf of stale Cuban bread over the head of a man in a navy uniform), quickly surrendered (after one minute), and applied for foreign aid (in the amount of one billion dollars). These actions generated great publicity for the Keys' plight. The roadblock and inspection station were removed soon afterward.


Don't believe me? Go to Key West on April 23 when they celebrate Independence Day. We may have to throw a solidarity party for our Island brothers and sisters. (Hey, we celebrate Cico de Mayo, too.)

Speaking of revolt, but not the funny kind, Australia is gearing up for the biggest scrum in rugby history, 'cause hooligans (of all races) are planning the mother of all dust ups this Sunday. Australia's government is expressing what could be considered 'displeasure' at this news:

Up to 1,500 police, triple the current number on the beat, will be on the streets on Saturday and 2,000 on Sunday.
“There will be lockdown areas. There will be areas where alcohol can not be consumed or purchased,” said NSW Police Minister Carl Scully.
“There will be roadblocks and cars confiscated and people arrested. It will be zero tolerance. We will not put up with any nonsense,” Scully told local radio.



I do hope France is taking notes...

And while all that crazy stuff is going on elsewhere in the world, the place where I live has our own problems to deal with..." Front page news, this.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Southwest Regional Spaceport

Now that New Mexico has got the drop on us, I'm just waiting to hear about Atlanta's response to the coming spacerace. 'Cause you know Atlanta's gonna be in on this thing as soon as any kind of real profit margin can be determined.

Now my imagination is rife with questions. If we were to have a Spaceport like this in the South, where would we put it and what would we name it?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Validation

Bah Humbug 2

The following link may contain some Explicit Content, but it is all in the frame of a quite intelligent discourse. That, and I just love it when I agree with someone completely about something.

Keeping Score: The Maye Case Blogstorm

Talk about letting the cat out of the bag!

Well, so much for waiting around for other sources, the Corey Maye case is now a full on blogstorm. What is really cool is Clicked's link to Battle Panda where they're actually dividing the blogosphere into teams (Red/Blue/Libertarian/Red-Blue/MSN) and keeping score. Go there and take a look.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Disturbing Behaviour

Round Up! Round Up! Rant, Rant, Rant!

So, my Pops likes to ask me questions that he knows will start an argument. This is how he likes to 'communicate,' and he does this often. He often asks me about what I think of certain things, and he never really likes my answers.

Take, for instance, religion.

My whole life, I have dealt with absolute insanity when it has come to religon. Now, don't get me wrong: most of the people I know are just as sincere and humble about their faith as good folks are supposed to be. I am not talking about them.

It is the crazies that set my blood to boilin'. I have listened, intently, to the broadcasted lessons of the Reverends Falwell, Dobson, Robertson, Hagee, Jackson, Sharpton and Farakkhan, as well as the 'persecuted Christian' mentality that exists even down here in the thickest sections of the Bible belt. I have listened, intently, to the preaching of high school classmates who told me exactly where I was gonna go so long as I disagreed with them. I've attended a stealth mission fire and brimstone sermon at my own high school graduation, and we just had a mandatory attendance tent revival in the high school gym, wether you were Christian or not.

So we'll say I have a healthy skepticism of fundamentalist religious beliefs. This is especially true when Christians in this country act like all I do all day is sharpen my knife at Super Secret Liberal Takeover Headquartes trying to foil their attempts at self expression.

"No, you may not whoop me about the head and shoulders with a 10 foot plywood crucifix" does not amount to me curtailing your religous freedom. Me asking that science be taught in science class does not censor what you say from the pulpit Sunday mornin'. Me sayin' "Happy Holidays" is a Southern tradition I uphold the same way I say "Yes, sir," "Please" and "Thank You." It ain't sensitivity trainin', it's called being polite and respectful of others.

Sincere, humble people of faith didn't think there was anything seriously wrong with my being polite ten years ago. But these days, because the crazies have talked about it for so long, they think that's me oppressing Christianity. That doesn't scare me, that makes me angry. It makes me really angry when sincere and humble people of faith (like my Pops) buys into that sort of nonsense.

After listening to this brand of religon as "if you disagree with me, you should die" rhetoric in fundamentalism of any religon, I have come to one conclusion: If sincere and humble people of faith get hijacked by crazies of any religon then armed conflict is inevitable. History will repeat itself.

Pops looks at me when I said this, and said I'm taking things too seriously. When I hear the venom of folks talking about what they want to do to get "God back in school" I wonder if I'm taking it seriously enough.

For example: a coupla thousand Australians rioted near Sydney over the weekend. Their target? People who looked Arabic and Indian, and the whites who tried to help stop the beatings. As someone who counts among his circle of friends several individuals by the names of Gupta, Kachru and Golabi, I took keen interest in this little newsreel. Luckily, the Australian government showed exactly how to deal with rioters (pay attention, France) and dropped some serious hammers on the hooligans before things got widespread. I guess all that world football & rugby hooliganism control is good trainin'.

Closer to home, did you hear what happened out in Kansas? A professor was pulled over by the side of a country road and got beat down because he was going to teach a class that was unfavorable to 'intelligent design' and talking trash about fundamentalists who have taken over his state. Anybody remember Matthew Sheppard? James Byrd? Despite the obvious mockery of "Who Would Jesus Curb-Stomp," this should start alarm bells ringing in many, many ears.

I guess the freedom to go to what Church you want is sacrosanct only if you keep your big, liberal mouth shut. Though this professor is a bonehead, real Christians and mature Americans would just ignore him and not take his class, the universal answer to wussy, annoying professors.

And not to be excluded from the warming Culture War, Fox News is making rhetorical mountains out of molehills over this whole "War on Christmas" thing. ("War" on Christmas, indeed. Blue Collar Comedy & Co hunt Santa's reindeer with guns, and that's funny. Saying "Happy Holidays" gets you deported? You know what we used to call public nativity scenes in South Georgia? Hiding places from the annual Senior-Junior Egg Wars of Glynn County. Nothing says real reverence of tradition like diving behind a Wise Man to avoid getting 'shelled' by four peabrains in a Jeep.) The link is to the Israel Policy Forum. This is another place I don't agree with all the politics, but it kind of brings into focus the other side of the "Happy Holidays" thing.

As if it is offensive to recognize that other sincere and humble people of other faiths are celebrating stuff too during this time of the year, and that the kids get a little time out of school.

Bah Humbug.

Update on the Maye Case

Glenn Reynolds hammers the point home with his Main Stream Media (MSM) outlet on MSNBC here, so if this is some hoax or is based on ill informed bloggers, this very important legal and conservative pundit's reputation will suffer. I've read him for a long time, and though Mr. Reynolds and I disagree on matters mostly political, his sources are usually very good.

He again points us to the Agitator, who is filling in for the Main Stream Media in reporting this case. Plenty more information to be found here.

So I guess the answer to the comment string that goes with our earlier post has more to do with trust of bloggers as journalists vs trust of Main Stream Media. Remember, with Weblogs, we, the people, are our own journalists. Just like MSM, we will have folks we trust and folks we don't. Unlike the MSM, bloggers are their own editors and can publish whatever they want. That is, of course, a double edged sword.

But look at the MSM right now, focusing on the simple celebrity of Tookie Williams' case, and nary a peep about Mr. Maye down in Mississippi.

Time in New Orleans

I'm linking to GulfSails not for the NYT link, not for the Krewe of Muses link (well, not entirely), but for the clip about time. Its the part all in italics, a few paragraphs in. I know all the streets they're talking about, all the clocks and exaclty what they mean about houses, recipes and the internet.

Quite a good read, if ya were to ask me.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Culture of Justice

Why doesn't the media latch on to real cases of injustice like this?

Imagine the scene: you're at home, asleep, in the middle of the night. Your eighteen month old is asleep in the house, too. You are awoken by the loud boom of your front door being busted in. Men with guns pour into your house, yelling. You are an everyday, law abiding citizen, just trying to make a place for yourself and your family in the world.

Like many Americans, you fear the theif that comes in the night. You have seen the news about home invasions and what the criminal element does to families. You have a gun by your bed for protection. You bought the gun legally, just like millions of other Americans.

And one night your door is busted down by men with guns, yelling.

In a moment of fear and panic, you shoot back.

You shoot at your assailants, only to hear the words "drop the weapon, this is the police." You comply with these orders, and find out that the man you shot was a police officer. You have killed him.

The police had executed a "no knock warrant," which is defined as "No Knock Warrant, Entry - Police may use a no knock warrant or entry if reasonable suspicion exists that knocking and announcing their identity and purpose would be dangerous, futile or allow destruction of evidence, U.S. v. Banks (2004).

Because they didn't have to announce who they were, you didn't know they were police.

So you did everything you thought you had the rights to do in this country. Things the majority of the Americans support: to own a gun, defend your family from harm, and shoot your assailants if you believe your life or family's lives were in danger.

And for this, you get convicted of homicide and sentenced to die.

The Greek Tragedy of all of this: the police were executing a warrant on a different residence. The domicile was a duplex, but the police didn't know it. They had no warrant to go into this man's home.

Send this news to everyone.

Thanks to DADvocate for the roundup.

Comprehensive opinion at The Agitator

Conservative Glen Reynolds at Instapundit directs us to Silent Running.

And TalkLeft

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

David Kay lied, people died?

In an effort to put an end to this 'Bush lied, people died' noise that for some reason, will not die itself, I present to you today, the tale of one David Kay, former Senior U.S. Weapons inspector. As the article states, in January of 2004, Mr. Kay told the US Congress that we were 'almost all wrong' in the belief that Saddam Hussein had WMDs in Iraq.

Strangely, however, six months prior, Mr. Kay stated, in a public interview with Tom Brokaw, that he was positive that Saddam Hussein had stashes of banned weapons in Iraq.

So, Mr. Kay, which is it? Who supplied the President, Congress, and anyone else who asked with the intelligence about Saddam's weapons programs? Was the intelligence faulty? If it was, WHO'S FAULT IS IT? The guy who presented the evidence to the American people as a basis for a war, or the guy who said the intelligence was good, and a basis to go to war?

Kay lied, now the lefties will cry?

And if you think gamedays here are bad...

...mayhap you should take a visit to the Hong Kong Disneyland. Then again, after reading the police blotter around here after gamedays, it appears that gameday in Athens and Hong Kong Disneyland may be linked in some sort of Bizarro-world fashion...

Discuss...

Racheting down the jackassitude...

I'm positively giddy. This, friends, is the most amusing bit of news i've read in quite some time. No longer will being busted for being a drunken jackass on campus net you a ticket which you could pay off, explaining the sudden need for funds to the parental units as 'some books'.

No, fair readers, it warms the depths of my cold, black heart to know that someday soon, little Johnny or precious Jenny will have to call home, the number for the Athens-Clarke County lockup appearing on the Caller ID, and explain to Mommy and Daddy as to why they are calling from said facility, and why they need bail money.

Seriously, though. If you've spent any amount of time in Athens over the last decade or so, you've likely noticed, or at least seemed to notice, that the alcohol fueled jackassery seems to increase exponentially every year, yet, the University claims they're getting smarter kids every year. Perhaps the threat of 'really-real' jail will make some of these kids rethink the merits of power hour, nickel night, projectile vomiting, and public indecency, with regards to the consumption of mass quantities.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Putting Parents on Notice

(Finally)

Here's the situation: the owner of a cafe is tired of kids misbehaving in his store. He puts up a sign that says "Children Must Behave and Use Their Inside Voices." Sounds pretty darn reasonable to me. Despite being called a 'hero' by some supporters, notably from Down South, many parents in the neighborhood where his shop is located are hopping mad!

What? Is it too much these days to expect your brood to conduct themselves reasonably while in public? Heckfire, even I remember gettin' a whoopin' for my public behavior (several, actually) when I got out of line, and I had some pretty lenient parents in the 'act like an idiot in public' department. (Please See Peter Pat Pan pg 1989 & see also 'alt rock' Pat pg 1995)

Reading this article makes me indignant and angry at folks who will just let their kids get away with anything. I've known enough well behaved kids and ill mannered younglings to see what makes a good parent and what makes a bad one. Heck I've been a well behaved and an ill mannered kid.

People mad at a business owner expecting kids to behave? Why don't the parents expect their kids to behave? My question.

Why is there any objection to this? Parents. Lazy parents who don't want to be bothered by their kids. That's right. If you don't want to raise your kid, you shouldn't have a kid. Or two or three. I am so tired of the parents who act like their kids are 1) accessories to the modern suburban lifestyle, like a 72" TV and Ford Excursion; 2) inconveniences; or 3) both.

Want the answer to Columbine? Parents. Kids having sex at school? Parents. Kids doing bad in school? Parents. Kids on drugs? Parents. Kids drinking at age 15? Parents. Kids being spoiled with Everything They Could Possibly Want so that when real life doesn't give it to them they throw a tantrum? Parents. Childhood obesity? Parents. ADD? Parents. The V Chip? Parents. Schools being crap? Parents.

Even as lenient as my folks were, they still popped me when I got out of line. Or hollered at me so loud I'd almost pee my pants. There was never any question about when I had done something they didn't like. I was made well aware of it quickly.

(Whether they were justified in not liking a thing is something else entirely.)

Anyway, just thought I'd share.

(My brother will be along shortly with a memo as to why I am wrong, incorrect, off base and hypocritical by saying all of the above.)

Saturday, December 03, 2005

And you will know us by the piles of bull...

Disclaimer: This article is ridiculously long and political. Before you engage in any reading below, you must click here before proceeding! When you click that link, you will go to the most important article on Hurricane Radio this month. Do it now!

We now continue with our long winded broadcast.

Here’s something I haven’t done in a while.

First of all, I’d like to say that there is a big difference between media as opinion and media as reporting cited facts. That line is quite blurry these days, but it just didn’t seem to be this way back when I was in high school. Back then, I felt that I could trust the news, and generally believe that what people were saying had a basis in fact somewhere easily accessible. You could often find these facts and independently verify a great many observations relatively quickly. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that more people, especially those in the media, used to check facts a little bit more back then.

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that more people would come out and holler ‘shenanigans’ anytime someone was trying to pull something over on us.

Maybe I just yearn for the good ole days of long hair, steel-toed boots and the sure faith that came from already knowing everything.

I received an email several months ago, defending the war in Iraq. It said that liberals (like me) don’t like the war because America isn’t supposed to go to war with other countries that haven’t attacked us directly. The email goes on to state that one loser of a Democratic President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, took us to war with Germany, even though Germany never attacked us – Japan did. Aren’t liberals (like me) stupid for such a string of argument? This email came to me from a very intelligent family member.

I had to remind her that the 3rd Reich issued a Declaration of War upon the United States of America before our nations commenced hostilities. I believe it was on December 11, 1941, actually. You don’t have to be attacked if a hostile nation is kind enough to send you a statement of purpose.

I was thought of that email when I visited the Townhall site this evening.

It was there that I saw this little gem by Larry Elder. He is the conservative columnist that apparently pulled the “administration dishonesty apologist” card this week. Read that right, he has the less than admirable position of going before an audience and defending the Administration on the credibility issue. The line of reasoning is interesting to watch, if less than credible itself.

He hedges in the intro by stating, “The White House -- finally -- began pushing back against irresponsible charges that Bush "lied" to the American people.” (He of course then makes fun of Senators Kennedy and Kerry, ‘cause the rest of us really believe those two are definitions of the moral high ground, wink-wink.) Then he goes on to ask “If Bush "lied," did former President Clinton "lie" about Kosovo?” What an interesting logical twist. If X then Y. Suddenly, we’re not talking about the current administration’s credibility issues at all, we’re talking about the Clinton Administration’s credibility issues. This guy is either a verbal magician or he can’t defend the Bush Administration’s credibility at face value.

We all know that Clinton had credibility issues about many things, but Mr. Elder’s contention is that Clinton lied to get us into a war with Yugoslavia over Kosovo.
But what about Clinton's assertion of the displacement of "over a million Kosovars"? According to USA Today on July 1, 1999, "Many of the figures used by the Clinton administration and NATO to describe the wartime plight of Albanians in Kosovo now appear greatly exaggerated as allied forces take control of the province. . . . Instead of 100,000 ethnic Albanian men feared murdered by rampaging Serbs, officials now estimate that about 10,000 were killed.
"But is the 10,000 number accurate?
"The Orange County Register, in a Nov. 22, 1999, editorial, said, "Months after the bombing has ceased, United Nations and European Union investigations have bolstered what critics had argued: NATO's estimates of Serbian genocide against the Kosovars were greatly overblown. Many observers now think the inflated numbers simply were part of the U.S.-led propaganda effort to build support for the war.
" . . . The latest evidence suggests that fewer than 3,000 Kosovars were murdered -- horrifying, yes, but not many more than the number of Serbs who were killed by NATO bombing attacks on Yugoslavia, roughly estimated between 3,000 and 5,000 soldiers and civilians."
Does this mean that Clinton "lied, people died"? The intelligence turned out to be wrong, very wrong.
But intelligence failures, bad intelligence or failing to properly analyze the intelligence is a far cry from accusing a commander in chief of deliberately and intentionally misleading the American people.


First of all, I am urged to point out that this statement, standing alone, is a misrepresentation. Mr. Elder questions Clinton’s “assertion of the displacement of over a million Kosovars.” Then he calls Clinton a liar because a million Kosovars didn’t die in Kosovo, only a few thousand did.

However, Clinton didn’t say ‘a million Kosovars died,’ Clinton said a million Kosovars were displaced. Not only does Mr. Elder not know how to count, he doesn’t seem to know the difference between a displaced person (refugee, person still alive but not living in their home) and a dead person (corpse, person not alive or living).

President Clinton, in his March 24, 1999 address to the nation about why we were sending planes into harms way for Kosovo did not mention a number of dead Kosovars. But don’t take my word for it, you can read his entire speech for your self. Perhaps President Bush should read this speech as an example of how to clearly explain reasons, geography and complex situations to other human beings. Perhaps Mr. Elder should read this speech, period, before he starts talking about it.

You can also read how the press reported President Clinton’s speech. Here’s where things get really interesting, especially if you examine the sidebars. The Democratic Party’s response, as quoted from Rep. Martin Frost (D-Texas), was to say that they wanted President Clinton “to do a prime time broadcast when people are watching. He does need to explain this to the American people." Arizona Senator John McCain (R) said, “the main question is what the policy's exit strategy will be. ‘Everyone wants to know what Plan B is.’

Starting to sound familar?

I will get back to the rhetoric in a moment. First, I want to really just crush Mr. Elder’s idea of fact finding and mathematics.

He suggests that President Clinton was lying by saying there were a million displaced Kosovars. Since I’ve already established that President Clinton wasn’t talking about dead people, I’ll give you some of the numbers concerning ‘displaced people’ or ‘refugees.’

The BBC reported on March 27, 1999 – just three days after President Clinton’s speech – that there were already around 30,000 refugees fleeing Kosovo. 10,000 per day.

The numbers became confusing because of the sheer numbers and the speed at which the humanitarian crisis escalated. The International Red Cross/Red Crescent appraised the situation thusly:

UNHCR: Kosovo refugee crisis (1999). The evaluation of UNHCR’s preparedness and response in Kosovo identified critical weaknesses in early warning, contingency planning and management systems. UNHCR had only 20 emergency response staff available and was prepared for a maximum outflow of 100,000 people when half a million refugees fled Kosovo in the space of two weeks. Official communications warning of possible ‘massive outflows’ went unheeded....And the size and rapidity of the crisis were of a scale seen only twice before: in northern Iraq/Turkey in 1991 and in the African Great Lakes region in 1994. UNHCR was not alone – few if any agencies were prepared for the scale and scope of the Kosovo crisis. However, given that Kosovo is unlikely to be the last humanitarian emergency of this magnitude, donors and agencies need to invest far more in improving response funds and structures – before the next disaster strikes.


But here’s the big dog. The United Nations High Council on Refugees official report on the situation (page 6 of 159, and you can read the whole thing on PDF), “Within nine weeks of the beginning of the air strikes, nearly 860,000 Kosovo Albanians fled or were expelled to Albania (444,600), FYR Macedonia (344,500) and Montenegro (69,900).” That’s the first 9 weeks, this thing lasted quite a few more.

(Conservative Point of Note: The rest of the paper is actually highly critical of NATO and the United States for intervening. It always fascinates me that the same world community that will criticize us for no intervention is the exact same one that will excoriate us when we do...)

So, Mr. Elder’s contention that President Clinton misled us about the numbers of displaced Kosovars is patently untrue. 860,000 refugees can sure look like a million when you’re on the receiving end. Not quite the ‘intelligence failure’ that one’s made out to be.

How much further should I go? Mr. Elder uses those stalwarts of media integrity, the Orange County Register and the USA Today, from whence to get his figures of dead people. His contention? Less than 3,000 Kosovars killed and 3,000-5,000 Yugoslavian civilians dead.

The first fact is only refutable because we haven’t stopped digging up the bodies and we still haven’t found all the mass graves. Those numbers are a little hard to come by. Mr. Elder makes the contention, I wish I’d had a source to verify that with. There was simply no cohesive answer I could find on the net this evening.

But the Yugoslav civilian dead, that’s another story. I pulled these figures from the reasonably credible Human Rights Watch. Some of the highlights:

-Human Rights Watch concludes that as few as 489 and as many as 528 Yugoslav civilians were killed in the ninety separate incidents in Operation Allied Force. (NATO claims those incidents were between 20 and 30, but that may be a definition based distinction. Emphasis added by me for effect.)

-the number of confirmed deaths is considerably smaller than both U.S. and Yugoslav public estimates. The post conflict casualty reports of the Yugoslav government vary, but coincide in estimating a civilian death toll of at least some 1,200 and as many as 5,700 civilians.

-The most dramatic losses of civilian life from the NATO offensive in Kosovo came from attacks on fleeing or traveling refugees confused with military forces.

-Moreover, there is a question as to whether NATO's extraordinary efforts to avoid casualties among its pilots precluded low-flying operations that might have helped to identify targets more accurately.


Dang! If those numbers can be trusted, that sounds like one really tight run ship.

I’ll leave you with some other sites to visit, NATO’s Kosovo Force Homepage, and NATO’s official background information on the Kosovo conflict.

Oh yeah, President Clinton’s ‘mission accomplished’ speech.

To really summarize, Mr. Elder got many things confused, and decided he would talk about President Clinton’s credibility when it came to war. If he was dealing with a society less intelligent than ours, I bet there are a lot of folks who would buy into his ‘logic.’ I bet folks would confuse President Clinton’s very real credibility failings with his very real military successes in Europe. He certainly didn’t lie to get us into Kosovo. I guess that kind of article is the best Mr. Elder can produce, based on his deadlines and stuff. No sir, those are nothing but opinions hiding behind the veneer of fact. If that’s the best defense of the Bush Administration’s credibility those smart folks over at Townhall can offer, you really don’t have to wonder why Mr. Bush has a credibility gap.


Post Scriptum

In the course of researching for this article, I came across some very interesting things concerning war rhetoric. Now, I’ve just given you a breakdown of President Clinton’s Kosovo intervention. I can never remember having any doubts about our mission in Kosovo, nor any lack of faith that we didn’t know what we were doing, nor any doubts about why we were there. I thought the Kosovo intervention, with a few minor glitches, was pretty much the textbook case on ‘how to handle unruly dictators when they get out of hand.’ I don’t even remember many folks speaking out against the Kosovo intervention, because when even Democrats are interested in a foreign policy objective, you know some bad stuff had to be happening. I always kind of expected the Republicans, the ‘hawk’ party if you will, the neocon party, to be gung ho for any show of American power to protect lives and liberty and engage the enemies of both when called upon by the nation and the world to do so.

How naive I must have been.

I’ve already touched on this a little bit before. But we’ll just review: Kosovo; American involvement with air power; Allies including all of NATO; diplomatic support from Russia; UN Security Council support; clearly stated reasons; clearly stated strategy; clearly stated end game; resounding military success; short timeframe; impossibly low casualties.

So why in the world did the right wing hate Kosovo so much?

We started this string with Larry Elder giving a scenario for a President lying our way into a war and then giving outrageous casualty figures. Back in 1999, the Republicans sounded a lot like the Democrats do today.

-At least Speaker Hastert was reasonable when he said "I would hope that the president would come forward on a timely basis and do two things: Lay this out to the Congress and the American people, and also come forward with a plan for how we're going to pay for it." I don’t know why Democrats are excoriated today for asking the same thing.

-And when then Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, who opposed the Kosovo intervention, said "Whatever reservations about the president's actions in the Balkans, let no one doubt that the Congress and the American people stand united behind our men and women who are bravely heeding the call of duty," no one accused him, as people accuse the Democrats today, of secretly wishing for our troops to loose in Kosovo.

-Those are much better than the way the RNC Chair Jim Nicholson treated Clinton. Mr. Nicholson urged the President to cancel visits to fundraising events. “Mr. President, have some respect for the men and women risking their lives to follow your orders," Nicholson said. "I ask you to have the decency to suspend your relentless foraging for campaign cash while our troops are in harm's way." Could you imagine anyone saying the same thing to Mr. Bush today?

If today, someone tried to sue Mr. Bush to end the war, I’d say they were just a bunch of crazy, misguided hyper-liberal moonbats taking their cues from the Sheehan crowd. Back in 1999, we called most of these people Republican House Members. And Joe Scarborogh? Not Joe! I read that dude’s stuff all the time!

And what would be said about the Senate, if they refused to give the President the power to wage war?

And if you click on the “Interactive” toolbar to the right, you can see that then Governor George W. Bush said this about Kosovo: “Bush's initial reaction to the airstrikes was slow to come and when it finally did it was very cautious, saying that he doesn't "have access to all the information and military intelligence available to the commander in chief."

I don’t quite think I could add anything to that statment.

Charles Krauthammer, on the other hand, deserves a new paragraph entirely. His opinion on the Kosovo matter earns him the “Michael Moore of the Right” award. As a matter of fact, he ought to sue Big Sparty for plagarism.


History repeating itself? Sure is easy when the only thing you do is trade scripts.

Friday, December 02, 2005

All I Want For Christmas

Maybe some of y'all will agree:

-Support the Troops

-Support Iraq

-Make the world just a little bit better

-Support for War Not Required

-Purchase of Stickers Not Required

-Cost effective

Intrigued yet?

Go here and read about it.


-Patrick

Thursday, December 01, 2005

If PETA Ran the World

All cats would recieve $6000+ stipends earmarked for travel expenses.

Thankfully, PETA doesn't run the world, so this is just a heartwarming story that Disney or Lifetime will end up with the rights to publish.

Stranger than that: after this cat travelled to France, the nation erupted in riots and civil unrest. Now that the cat leaves, order is restored. Coincidence...or Meow-Quaeda?

You be the judge.