Once More Into the Breach

Finding Nonsense and Beating it Sensible

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I used to watch TV news and yell at the box. Now I jump up from the couch, sit at the computer and begin to type laughing maniacally saying "Wait until they read this." It's more fun than squashing tadpoles

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Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year

Virginia Denies Benefits to Illegals

There are three ways of dealing with the illegal immigration problem, catch them and punish with jail or deportation, harden the border or remove the incentive for them to come.

A new Virginia law that bars illegal aliens from receiving state-funded benefits goes into effect tomorrow.
The law restricts anybody without a Social Security number from receiving Medicaid, temporary assistance for needy families, and help from several other state and local programs.

"A lot of us were saying, instead of raising taxes, why don't we start prioritizing where we're spending our existing money," said Delegate David B. Albo, Fairfax Republican, who sponsored the bill. "One of the things we found was the state was not checking for legal presence for Medicaid."

Mr. Albo could not specify how many illegal aliens might be receiving public benefits. But he said the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles rejected 187,000 applicants the first year after 2004 legislation restricted illegals from obtaining driver's licenses.
"To me, the same arguments that presented themselves for the ... driver's license debate are here in the public-benefits debate," said Mr. Albo, who sponsored the motor vehicle legislation.

An effective approach incorporates all three. Removing the incentive should be the top priority since it is the most efficient. Coupled with a hardened border and backed up with vigorous enforcement we can gain control of the problem and then address the issue of foreign workers coming for economic benefit.

The 187,000 number could include citizens who's paperwork was incomplete. In Virginia it is very difficult to renew a license much less get a new one.

Immigration has been and will be one of the foundations of our strength as a society. New Americans grasp the opportunities offered by our system with enthusiasm. The competition keeps native Americans from becoming complacent. Illegal immigration encourages an influx of an element of exploitation that does not contribute in the same manner, but can be a negative drag on the dynamics of a free society.

Thanks to Basil and Merle for the Links

Friday, December 30, 2005

Dems Want Records on Possible GOP 2008 Contenders

From the people who champion the right to privacy, complain about government snooping and seal the records of their own past administrations comes this...

The DNC is seeking similar records on at least 10 other potential candidates for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, spokesman Luis Miranda said.

The letters dated Dec. 7 ask for "any and all records of communication" and are signed by Shauna Daly, who provided a post office box in Washington as her address.

Miranda confirmed to The Boston Globe that Daly is employed by the Democrats as deputy research director. She had previously worked for the presidential campaign of John Edwards, the former senator from North Carolina, and in other races.

The party is asking for records as far back as 1947, the year Romney was born.

Daly's letters request that any fees be waived, but Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said fulfilling the requests wills cost tens of thousands of dollars.

"Taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for the Democratic National Committee to put its dirty tricks attack squad to work against Mitt Romney, so we'll bill them for it," Fehrnstrom said.

Carnival of the Trackbacks XLIV

Man Shot in Head Drives to Work, Hospital

Take an aspirin and call me in the morning...

When Glen Thomas Betterley, 53, noticed the blood Thursday morning he asked Emma Lorene Larsen if she had struck him. Larsen, 65, said she didn't know.

He cleaned himself up and laid down to rest, but when the bleeding wouldn't stop he drove to work, left the note and then went to Hallifax Medical Center's emergency room, where he learned he had been shot in the forehead. He was in stable condition Friday.

While Betterley was being treated, police called Larsen and heard a single gunshot. When investigators arrived at the home, they found Larsen dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot to the head. They are calling the case an aggravated battery and apparent suicide. Police won't say what caliber of gun was used.

What we have here is a failure to communicate.

Justice Department Investigates NSA leaks

Late to the party but finally arrives.

The Justice Department has opened an investigation into the leak of information to the media about a domestic eavesdropping program run by the National Security Agency, senior Justice Department officials confirmed Friday.

Officials have confirmed to FOX News that the FBI is involved in the investigation, but did not comment on whether other agencies were involved, or when the investigation began. One official has said the referral for the probe came from the NSA.

The investigation into leaking of covert activities should have begun with the disclosure of the placing of positive stories in the Iraqi press. Because nothing was done to find who did this, the secret prisons were revealed. Still nothing was done to find the leak so the existence of the CIA planes was reveled. Then the NSA surveillance and lately the monitoring of Masques for radiation.

We have at least one leftist mole in the intelligence agencies. There has been a 5th column operating in this country for decades. Their allies in the legislature have put roadblocks to finding them at every opportunity under the guise of civil liberties. How else to explain the rational of Tom Daschle's saying on the op-ed page of The Washington Post, Congress explicitly denied a White House request for war-making authority in the United States.

One cannot expect to succeed in defeating foreign adversaries if we neglect domestic ones.

Michelle Malkin Is following the story

TexasFred over at and That is My opinion talks about how the Dems are trying to blame the President for policies set during the Clinton years.

Is It a Sport or Recreation

As I've gotten older my need for maintaining physical fitness has become more important. Interesting ways to workout help to maintain the enthusiasm that can so easily wan. Participating in sports has always been one way that I keep my interest in staying fit. I've found that some activities that are called sports are really just recreational activity. To distinguish between the two I've made some simple rules:

It is a recreational activity if:

  1. One can score 100 points and still lose.
  2. When one hits or throws a ball, no one hits or throws it back.
  3. One can bring beer onto the field of play.

The following meet these criteria:

Basketball Rule 1. Yah I know I'll never score 100 points but what's interesting about running back and forth seeing who can score the fastest before the clock runs out?

Bowling Rules 1&2. I played in a league once and really out of shape people wiped me every time.

Darts Rules 1,2 &3. Fun, but not sport.

Fishing Rule 3. Need I say more?

Golf Rule 1, 2 & 3. How could I stay interested in chasing a ball just so I can hit it again?

Not that some one can't get some physical benefit from these, I'm just not able to keep interested enough to stay with the program.

Open Tracks at Bloggin Outloud
Jo' Cafe

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Judge: Ban on Jesus in Prayer Stands

First we have the military telling chaplains whom they can pray to. Now we have a judge dictating what can be in a prayer.

By Richard D. Walton IndyStar.com.

A federal court judge on Wednesday denied a request to amend his ruling banning sectarian prayer in the Indiana House of Representatives, clearing the way for an appeal to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.

U.S. District Judge David Hamilton rejected arguments by House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, that Hamilton's ruling was too vague to enforce.
And Hamilton issued a warning:

"If the speaker or those offering prayers seek to evade the injunction through indirect but well understood expressions of specifically Christian beliefs, the audience, the public, and the court will be able to see what is happening. In that unlikely event, the court will be able to take appropriate measures to enforce" the injunction.

Hamilton earlier this month found that the House practice of offering a prayer at the start of each day's session breached the clause of the U.S. Constitution that bars the government establishment of religion. The House prayers, he ruled, were overwhelmingly Christian in content and amounted to the advancement of one religion over others. The ruling stemmed from a lawsuit brought by the Indiana Civil Liberties Union.

The judge ordered that anyone chosen to give the invocation must not advance any one faith. He forbade the person saying the prayer from "using Christ's name or title" or making any other denominational appeal.

Despite Hamilton's intent to also prevent the promotion of non-Christian religions, Bosma had asked for clarification on whether the prohibition "refers to Christendom as a whole, or is more limited and means only that there should be no appeals on behalf of Methodism, Presbyterianism, or Roman Catholicism, for example."
Responded Hamilton in Wednesday's ruling: "This later question seems to reflect almost a willful obtuseness. As is evident through the opinions of this court and other courts . . . official prayers that endorse Christianity in general violate the Establishment Clause. The Establishment Clause is not limited to preferences for particular Christian denominations."

Bosma has said that, if necessary, he will take his fight against Hamilton's ban on sectarian prayer to the Supreme Court.

If Judge Hamilton feels the government has an imbalance of the representation of religions presented in the prayers he should address the diversity of the ministers giving the prayer, not the content thereof.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
— The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

His ruling hinders the free exercise of the individual ministers invited to pray. He could require a representative mix of ministers reflecting the population's religious make up, or demand equal time representation, but a minister is a representative of the God he serves and should be free to pray in the manner of his religious practice.

He also has not seen the decision of the 6th Court of Appeals and here

Legalism Stinks looks at this issue

Christmas Shooter Had History Of Mental Problems

The Holiday season, Thanksgiving through New Years, but especially Christmas, is often a time of tragedy. Following are two reports of such that are not unusual at this time. Although the problems leading to the actions are different, they have noteworthy similarities.

The first involves a pending divorce.

WILLIAMSFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- Police are learning new information about the Christmas Day murders of an Ashtabula County couple, allegedly killed by the woman's estranged husband.

John Marsh, 35, was arraigned Tuesday on charges of aggravated murder in the deaths of 30-year-old Jennifer Marsh and her boyfriend, 32-year-old David Beach.

Police knew the couple was having trouble at their home for the past month, but could do little to stop John Marsh.

Police say there was a civil protection order in place, and that the couple was going through a divorce.

The second, a psychotic man who stopped taking his medication.

FAIRFAX -- In the days before he killed his mother and three acquaintances before taking his own life, Nathan W. Cheatham apparently had stopped taking his anti-psychotic medication, according to a lawyer who once represented him.

Billy R. Hicks, a Springfield attorney who represented Cheatham in a 2002 drug case, said Sheila Cheatham called him on Christmas Eve, frantic that her 27-year-old son was paranoid and delusional.

Police investigating the Christmas Day slayings are now focusing on two theories as possible motives for the violent outburst: that Cheatham had a uncontrolled psychotic episode or that drugs were involved. Cheatham had a history of mental-health issues and drug abuse, according to police and court records.

Hicks said Sheila Cheatham called him seeking advice on what to do about her son. Nathan had not slept in 48 hours, agitating over a run-in he told his mother he had with police a couple of days earlier, Hicks said. She could not persuade him to take his medication.

Hicks said he suggested that Sheila take her son to Inova Fairfax Hospital. But she said he would refuse. Hicks then advised that Nathan could be involuntarily committed. But Sheila said her son had vowed to kill himself if he spotted any sheriff's deputies trying to take him into custody.

"I suggested he talk to a suicide hot line, but it was clear he wasn't going to do it," Hicks said.

The next day, Cheatham shot his mother several times in the driveway of their McLean home. Cheatham then drove about 8 miles to a home on Sycamore Springs Lane in Great Falls.

There, he killed Janina C. Price, 50; her 19-year-old son, Adam S. Price; and 20-year-old Christopher J. Buro, a family friend who was visiting. Each had been shot multiple times. Another member of the Price family, 20-year-old Alex Price, hid in the basement until the shooting stopped and escaped unharmed.
Here is a report from a neighbor.

In both of these tragedies there are two glaring similarities. Understanding them could have minimized the unfortunate results.

The first, both men were known to be dangerous.

John Marsh the estranged husband, had a civil protection order placed on him. Police were aware of him as a danger to his wife. The neighbors were aware of threats he made to his wife. Everyone said they could not do anything about it.

Nathan W. Cheatham a psychotic, stopped taking his medication. His mother sought help. Police had arrested him on drug charges and his lawyer was aware of his mental condition. Again everyone involved knew he was dangerous if only to himself, but felt they could or were unwilling to do anything about it.

The second, had the victims been armed they may have preserved their own lives.

John Marsh was known to be violent. Civil protection orders are useless against violent, abusive or mentally disturbed individuals. A more effective approach to situations such as this where a known threat exists would be to train and arm the potential victim for self defense. There are too many potential crimes for a police officer to escort everyone who may be in danger. The function of law enforcement is to apprehend criminals after they commit a crime. It is the individual's responsibility to protect themselves and their family. When officials find a person is insufficiently skilled to do so they should advise them on where and how to gain those skills and to do so ASAP. It would serve them better than a piece of paper.

Nathan W. Cheatham was known to be psychotic. Without his medication he was known to be dangerous. He was a known drug offender, not a good combination for someone on psychiatric medication. There should be an authority for police or other government officials to take custody of someone who refuses to take their medication when failure to do so makes them a danger to themselves or others. The case of Joe Casuccio in Richmond, VA is another example where intervention would have prevented tragedy.

As for the Price family, they may have been unaware of their danger, but being prepared to defend oneself as a general rule can make a difference in a sudden emergency. Mr, Cheatham fired at the house before entering. Such a warning may have given the Price's tie to defend themselves if they had been prepared to do so. The sad reality is officials often discourage people from considering such preparation.

So now let's look at another similar tragedy.

A woman who died after a car crash had been shot in the heart minutes earlier with a pellet gun that her 14-year-old son received as a Christmas gift, police said.

Police said the teen was protecting his grandfather from his mother, Elizabeth White. She was threatening the grandfather with a pair of scissors, according to authorities.

White, 40, of Salina, had spent the weekend in Wichita after she was invited to spend Christmas at the house where her 73-year-old father and her 68-year-old mother were raising her children.

Police said the altercation happened after White returned to the home Tuesday. Armed with scissors, White threatened to kill her father, who had only a cane to defend himself, police said.

When the argument moved into the front yard, Landen said the teen's grandfather tripped over a planter.

As his mother moved toward her fallen dad with the scissors, police said, the teenager stepped onto the front porch and aimed, striking his mother in the heart.

White, who has been in and out of prison during the past 16 years, has convictions for drug offenses, prostitution, writing bad checks and making threats, according to state records.

White a known criminal had turned violent. As she was attacking her elderly father her son, arming himself, shot her preventing further tragedy. In this case the fatal results were confined to the perpetrator. The only thing that police could have done in the absence of the son's intervention with his pellet gun would have been to apprehend White after she had killed her father.

These are not isolated or rare incidents. The current manner of dealing with them is ineffectual for prevention. Ore proactive intervention by authorities and individuals is necessary to minimize the tragic results of aberrant behavior. Teaching and encouraging self defense and taking custody of irresponsible mental patients would be a positive approach.

Open tracks at Jo's and bRight & Early

New Blog Showcase at Random Yak

Carlival of Cordite at Resistance is futile!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Robbery Suspects Crash House Party in Virginia

Henrico County police were searching yesterday for three suspects who robbed several people at gunpoint at a house party.

Police said the three, dressed in black, knocked on the door of a residence in the 3900 block of Arden Road in eastern Henrico on Monday about 11:30 p.m.

The suspects entered the residence, pulled out handguns and demanded cash, he said. The suspects left with an undisclosed amount of money and at least one cell phone. No one was injured.

Fitzgerald said it doesn't appear the victims knew the suspects, who are believed to be in their 20s.

This sounds like the MO of three men who tried to do the same thing to my stepson in the City of Richmond. In that case my stepson was having a party, three men were just outside the house when he went out to his truck. The men put a gun to his neck and told him to get in the truck. Fortunately he saw and opportunity and ran to the house. . One of the robbers shot and missed. He returned with his own weapon and fired into the truck as the men drove off causing them to flip the truck. While he went back in to call 911, they escaped. To his credit, he is a fine shot and chose not to kill these men , but only shoot into the side of the truck.

To my knowledge Richmond police did little or no investigating. This could explain a similar crime occurring in Henrico County which is not far from where my stepson lives. All I'm aware of is the Richmond Police gave him a ticket for discharging a firearm in the city limits.

Had Richmond done an investigation of this crime the robbery in Henrico may have avoided. The city's attitude was one of "You live in Northside what do you expect?" I've spoken to Henrico County Police to make them aware of the similarity of these events. I hope Richmond did collect evidence so they may help Henrico solve this crime and put these men where they belong.

Bill Would Keep Taxpayer Funds from ACLU

An attorney who once worked for the American Civil Liberties Union has slammed the organization for "perverting" federal law by successfully threatening government officials into getting rid of public expressions of religion.

Rees Lloyd made the comments in an online podcast hosted by Rep. John Hostettler, R-Ind., in which the two discuss the congressman's legislation, the Public Expression of Religion Act, or PERA (H.R.2679). The bill would prohibit judges in civil suits involving the First Amendment's Establishment Clause from awarding attorney's fees to those offended by religious symbols or actions in the public square – such as a Ten Commandments display in a courthouse or a cross on a county seal.

Hostettler's proposal would amend the Civil Rights Attorney's Fees Act of 1976, 42 U.S.C. Section 1988, to prohibit prevailing parties from being awarded attorney's fee in religious establishment cases, but not in other civil rights filings. This would prevent local governments from having to use taxpayer funds to pay the ACLU or similar organization when a case is lost, and also would protect elected officials from having to pay fees from their own pockets.

Said the lawmaker: "When officials see the potential threat of a lawsuit, they stop allowing children to write papers for English class – when they're asked to write about the most important person in their life and they decide to write about Jesus Christ."

Hostettler's bill would allow cases to move through the courts without public officials worrying about being held personally liable for thousands in attorneys fees.

As the situation stands there is no risk to the ACLU or anyone else to bring suit to claim injury by religious expression. If they win in court all attorney fees can be awarded as part of the settlement. The officials sued would then have to pay the ACLU's fees. It does not work in the reverse. This the reason schools and local governments are so hostile toward religious expression, it could bankrupt them. The taxpayer is now being looted by the ACLU by this method. It will not be long before Islamist terror organizations get in on the act. Then taxpayers will be financing their own demise through attorney fees of these organizations.

Stop the ACLU is looking for signatures for a petition to support Hostettler's proposal. Go there and sign up.

One of the major problems with tort law in the US is the one sided award system. When one brings suit, if it has merit one should have attorney fees reimbursed by the defendant. If they lose because the court finds the suit has no merit the plaintiff should pay the attorney fees of the defendant. This would balance the risk in bringing suit and reduce the fishing expeditions so common today.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Democrats Charge Homeland Security With Not Doing Its Job

The Democrats will never cease to amaze me. They're like Palestinians without bombs. They stand in the way of every effort to protect this country and then complain that it's not protected.

The Homeland Security Department, created in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, has failed to fulfill 33 of its own pledges to better protect the nation, according to a report released Tuesday by House Democrats.

Compiled for 13 Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee, the report analyzes public statements and congressional testimony on Bush administration security goals since 2002.

— Compile a single, comprehensive list prioritizing protections for the nation's most critical and potentially vulnerable buildings, transportation systems and other infrastructure.

So they can then leak it all to the press and broadcast it to our enemies.

— Install monitors at borders and every international seaport and airport to screen for radiation material entering the country.

They're already complaining that we are monitoring sites for radiation. I guess they need more sites to complain about us monitoring.

— Install surveillance cameras at all high-risk chemical plants.

How about all plants? We might as well, they'll complain about us being selective otherwise.

— Create one effective network to share quickly security-related intelligence and alerts with state, local and private industry officials.

I'm sure Jamie Gorelick will help with that.

— Track foreign visitors through a computerized system that takes their fingerprints and photographs as they enter and exit the country.

Yes, but don't follow any of them while they're here and don't look at any of their emails. Definitely don't even try to do anything if they come into the country illegally. No if they do that give them free schooling and health care, hand them a driver's license.

When these clowns had had the White House and the Senate terrorism was just an issue of law enforcement.

These folks are acting like a 5th colunm, if you don't think so read devildog6771's post at Hello Iraq

Just makes one want to grab the wood shampoo dispenser and start swingin'.

More at Jo's Cafe, Third World Country, Bloggin Outloud

Funding for Children of Illegals Expanding in Nevada

One of the reasons the President of Mexico wants to stop the building of the border fence.

A Nevada state program providing monthly welfare payments to children born in the United States to illegal immigrants has expanded for the last three years.
State figures show the program -- called nonqualified, noncitizen assistance -- has risen from an average of 670 monthly cases statewide in 2003 to 765 cases in 2005.

The program cost increased over the same period from $2.1 to 2.5 Million.

The Nevada state Division of Welfare and Supportive Services is expected next month to consider offering help to a new group -- immigrants who've been the victims of abuse.

It is imperative that we stop this kind of subsidy for people who come here in violation of our laws. The effort that some legislatures make to accommodate illegal immigrants could be better spent in enforcing the law. We are talking about liberals though. You know them their the same people who want to surrender on the war on terror also. With elected officials like this, who needs the French?

Burgers at Basil's

Monday, December 26, 2005

Europeans Missing Their Kyoto Targets

Britain and Sweden are the only European countries honouring their Kyoto commitments to cut greenhouse gasses, according to a think-tank report.

Although the US is portrayed as the ecological villain for refusing to sign up to the agreement, 10 out of the 15 European Union signatories - including Ireland, Italy and Spain - will miss their targets without urgent action, the Institute for Public Policy Research found.

France, Greece and Germany are given "amber warnings" and will only achieve the objectives if planned policies are successfully carried out.

Recent figures show carbon dioxide emissions increasing in 13 out of the 15 countries, including Britain, the report says.

It's easy and popular to blame the US for the worlds problems, but in most cases as in this no other nation is doing anything different. In the case of global warming a question remains as to what the cause really is. More important to this issue is the solution offered is dubious since Kyoto does not make its requirements universal. If this treaty were an effective remedy then all nations should be involved. One can conclude that there is some other goal involved in the effort to get the west to adhere to the protocol.

There is reasonable evidence that global warming is more a function of earth's climatic cycle rather than a man made disaster. Mankind flatters himself that he can have an effect on the weather either good or bad. The planet has a way of swallowing up evidence of our past, modern man should not expect less.

Personally, I find it hard to find to be negative about global warming. Sure the coastal areas will be flooded, but there is vast land areas in the northern hemisphere that could be opened to agriculture and development. It is offered that the great advances of the classical period was facilitated by a warmer climate than what occurred during the dark ages.

Good Morning at Basil's

Food Tax Sends Tenn. Shoppers Out of State

Every day individuals make economic decisions. They make them so as to best allocate the funds they have to secure to goods and services they want. It does not take a genius to find bargains. An ill considered tax rate can drive people to act in a way that will limit the revenues realized by a tax. The people of Tennessee are doing just that..

When Julie Abel goes grocery shopping each week, she drives more than 25 miles to Georgia to avoid paying the nation's highest average tax on food: 8.4 percent in Tennessee.

Abel is not alone in her frustration. Rep. Michael Kernell, D-Memphis, said he regularly hears complaints about the state's almost 60-year-old food tax and he predicted it would change.

A recent report from Daly's group shows Tennessee leads the nation with the highest average sales tax on food, 8.4 percent, and a 9.4 percent sales tax.

Gov. Phil Bredesen has said that if re-elected next year he will not support a state income tax. Bredesen spokeswoman Lydia Lenker said the Democratic governor has shown that state government "can operate within its means."

Whether or not the government of TN operates within its means is not the issue here. The legislature of the state needs to look at the rate it taxes food at. The current rate is causing people to buy outside the state thus reducing the potential revenue from the food tax. A new or different tax is unnecessary. They need only to adjust the rate of tax on food to balance the increased cost with the alternatives in bordering states. It shouldn't be difficult, they have economists employed by the state who should be able to figure this out without much effort. The trick may be to educate the elected officials sufficiently that they can understand the principle.

Any time the cost of something changes, for whatever reason, people's behavior changes. When gas prices went up people for different and personal reasons bought less gas. The supply of gas grew so the price came down and people's actions changed accordingly. The principle is the same with the food tax in TN. If the state can reduce the tax rate on food so that the price of food in TN is not higher than in bordering states, people will change their behavior and tax revenues will increase even with the lower rate.

Tomorrow Yesterday does the math

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Maryland Democrats Raise Healthcare Cost with Tax

Democrats who's mantra of healthcare for everyone have caused the premiums of Maryland
Citizens to increase because of a 2% tax on HMOs.

The 2 percent tax on HMO premiums, which the General Assembly passed over Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s veto, will cost a family of four about $200 more a year.

"Unfortunately, patients in Maryland, not the tax-and-spend General Assembly leadership, are the only ones who will pay for this costly lesson in basic common-sense economics," said Sen. Andrew P. Harris, Baltimore County Republican and the Senate's only physician.

However, House Speaker Michael E. Bush said the tax succeeded in stopping the increases in malpractice-insurance rates that purportedly threatened to drive doctors out of business.

The reason for malpractice premiums becoming so expensive is the volume of suits filed which cost doctor's insurance companies regardless of the merit of the complaint. Juries often award settlements that are beyond proportion to damage or risk. The insurance companies will settle a meritless suit out of court because it is less expensive than to fight in court. To subsidize the premiums for malpractice insurance only subsidizes the personal injury lawyers, a key Democrat contributor.

Medical Mutual Liability Insurance Society of Maryland -- the state's largest insurer of doctors -- increased rates 66.8 percent since 2003, but has not filed for a rate increase for next year.

The company collected more than $27 million this year from the subsidy funded by the HMO tax, according to the Maryland Insurance Administration, which administers the fund.

The fund stops subsidizing medical-malpractice insurance in two years, but HMOs will keep paying the tax into a Medicaid fund that now gets only some of the tax.

As is typical of most plans to use a tax as a remedy to a problem this one will not only not solve the problem, but cease to even pretend to address it by reverting to general funds in two years. The malpractice premiums will no longer be subsidized, the cost of HMOs will still reflect the tax and healthcare in Maryland will continue to increase rapidly.

The relatively small Delmarva Health Plan Inc. and Elder Health Maryland have not passed on the tax through higher rates. Neither has the 150,000-member Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, which isn't taxed because of its nonprofit status but still pays an equivalent amount into the Medicaid fund. Emphasis mine.

The tax cost CareFirst nearly $20 million this year.

The complete nonsense of the statement highlighted above is remarkable. Not calling money contributed to the fund a tax but a contribution is an example of the Orwelian goofiness government engages in because the politicians think the people are stupid. Call it what you want the results are the same. Give Maryland Democrats a wood shampoo for picking the people's pockets to subsidize a special interest while pretending to solve a problem resulting from the states own tort law rules.

Find more nonsense at Carnival of the Clueless

Picnic at Basil's

Christmas Greeting

This will be at the top untill Christmas so look below for the latest post.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

AWOL From theTurret

Over the river and through the woods
To Grandmother's house we go

That's right I'm leaving the turret to travel to Christmas Eve dinner at Mom's. The world's problems will have to be solved by others until I return fat, happy and ready for more beating nonsense sensible

Friday, December 23, 2005

Chirstmas Carnival #1

Everyone should go visit Adam's Blog for the First Christmas Carnival. There are plenty of festive offerings brought together from all over. Read and enhance your Christmas Cheer.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Evolution, Theory or Science

This comment to my post Two Courts, Two different Decisions brings out the essence of the situation in the debate over Intelligent Design.

PHenry said...

It is amazing the circuit that argument takes in this country. If you watch 'Inherit the wind', about the monkey trials, essentially the message was that it is unfair to deprive students of information about evolution, that they should get all sides and make up their own minds. This was the argument to allow teaching evolution. Now, it seems, those who advocate teaching evolution insist that no other theories be taught. Students no longer need all sides, since the ONE RIGHT opinion is the only one being taught...

Evolution is a theory. It is NOT proven, there has never been ONE piece of evidence found that proves one species changing their chromosome count and becoming another. Not one. So Evolution is no more certain than ID.

Remember, science once considered it unquestionable that the world was flat and the sun revolved around the flat earth.....

There are a host of problems with Darwinian Theory. The increasing difficulty Darwinians have in resolving them place evolution squarely in the theory category. Briefly some of those are:

  • The Cambrian Explosion
  • The Law of Thermodynamics
  • A long list of fraudulent evidence
  • Circular reasoning of Homology

In the science and academic community evolution is regarded as fact. This is the reason for the problem in bringing in competing theories to the classroom. Having elevated a theory to fact makes the theory into an article of faith, a dogma, precisely the claim against Intelligent Design. Science can be guide to understanding, but only if it is a search for the truth. When it gets lazy and dogmatic it is only a blind guide.

Science need not adhere to a particular sect to accept the concept of a higher being. To dismiss the possibility outright is to perform research with a bias of presupposition rather than an open mind. Presupposition Has brought us the flat earth, earth centric universe and leaching. Adhering to one theory our origin without competition will set back understanding of our world just as the previous examples did.

In future posts I'll elaborate on these problems. go to Part II

Lounge at Basil's

Weekend at Wizbang

Christian Carnival CII

Two Michigan Officials Face Contempt Charges

Two members of a state elections panel face contempt of court charges after refusing last week to ratify a ballot measure that seeks to disallow the collection of racial data by public agencies.

The measure was placed on the ballot Tuesday by the Michigan secretary of state and voters will decide in November 2006. It mirrors a proposal that California voters approved in 1996.

The Michigan measure says the state and schools "shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting."

The two officials, Doyle O'Connor and Paul Mitchell, are part of Michigan's four-member Board of Canvassers, a ratifying panel that was ordered by the state Court of Appeals earlier this month to approve the initiative.

But during a fractious board meeting last week, the two refused to approve the measure after being taunted by a group of unruly protesters -- mostly high school students bused in from the Detroit area -- who disrupted the meeting. The other two board members fulfilled their legal obligation and voted in favor of the move.

News reports said that the students overturned a table, made obscene gestures, and told a black board member to "be a black man." One protester was arrested for disorderly conduct.

In a memo this week to the state Attorney General's Office, Mr. O'Connor and Mr. Mitchell said the meeting was improperly adjourned and ended in confusion.

There was no confusion other that how the Democrats on the board were going to satisfy the mob and comply with the law. Their job was to certify a ballot initiative. There were unsubstacchiated acusations of fraud that the Democrats on the board still held to as an excuse to not allow the initiative on the ballot. Support for racial set asides has become for the left a limius test for designation as a minority. The crowd taunted one member by saying he should act black. Ballot iniciatives such as this are a cover for legislatures who have'nt the backbone to stand up to this kind of harassment.

There are plenty of voices that are speaking against such preferance laws for good reason. The laws in question taint real accomplishment and delay the move toward a colorblind society.

See La Shawn Barber for a clear voice on such maters

See more at Basil's

After Jews leave, Arabs unable to successed in greenhouses

The Palestinians who took over the Jewish greenhouses in the Gaza Strip when Israel withdrew its communities from the area now are asking expelled farmers for advice after reportedly failing to reproduce the region's famous insect-free vegetables, WND has learned.

Prior to Israel's August withdrawal, the residents of Gaza's Gush Katif slate of Jewish communities ran greenhouses known for producing high-quality insect-free vegetables. The Gush Katif gardens featured some of the most technologically advanced agricultural equipment and accounted for more than $100 million per year in exports to Europe. The greenhouses also supplied Israel with 75 percent of its own produce.

The hothouses were passed to the Palestinians in September in a $14 million deal brokered by former World Bank President James Wolfenson and several wealthy Jewish Americans.

Earlier this month, the Palestinians now running the greenhouses reportedly told the Israeli-Palestinian Economic Cooperation Fund they failed in their efforts to grow bug-free produce.

Now the Palestinian owners have asked the United States Agency for International Development, which has been involved in reconstruction efforts in Gaza, to hire former Jewish Gaza greenhouse owners as consultants for their declining vegetable businesses.

The Arab world not just the Palestinians has squandered its great wealth trying to destroy Israel rather than develop a vibrant economy that could be independent of oil. Israel on the other hand has in the face of this threat has made the desert bloom. Why anyone living in the lands bordering Israel and analyzing the contrast could not wonder. The common excuse that they are held back by the Zionist occupiers has to look shallow in retrospect to the greenhouse issue.

I've been hearing the term refugee camp used to describe Palestinian settlements for 30 years, and I know the term existed before I came along. What confused me though was the pictures shown of these camps looked like cities with buildings, houses, roads and utilities. The term betrayed a propaganda campaign which has held back Palestinian society from meaningful development.

Now the Jews have left developed agricultural industry and the Palestinians have nowhere to go but to Israel for help. Not the Saudis, Syrians, Iranians, or Egyptians have the know-how to help. All the oil in the world can't make a nation prosper who gives its energy to destroying its neighbors.

Blog Buffet at Basil's

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Tiger Victim was Fleeing Arrest

A man mauled to death by tigers at Bloemfontein Zoo on Sunday was a robber who ended up in the cage while fleeing arrest, police said on Tuesday.

Captain Elsa Gerber said it appears the man and a friend had been robbing people at the zoo. He fled into the enclosure to avoid arrest.

The man's body was noticed by a visitor to the zoo at noon on Sunday.

His clothes were in tatters and he was covered in cuts, scratches and bruises.

However, his body was intact, indicating that the animals had not tried to feed on him.

The mugger may have mistaken the fence around the Tiger compound for the other side of the zoo. I wonder if his last words were "Nice Kitty."

Military Chaplains Told toPray to God Not Jesus

To pray -- or not to pray -- in Jesus' name is the question plaguing an increasing number of U.S. military chaplains, one of whom began a multiday hunger strike outside the White House yesterday.

"I am a Navy chaplain being fired because I pray in Jesus' name," said Navy Lt. Gordon Klingenschmitt, who will be holding 6 p.m. prayer vigils daily in Lafayette Park.

The hunger strike is intended to persuade President Bush to issue an executive order allowing military chaplains to pray according to their individual faith traditions. The American Center for Law and Justice has gathered 173,000 signatures on a petition seeking an executive order.

Seventy-three members of Congress have joined the request, saying in an Oct. 25 letter to the president, "In all branches of the military, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Christian chaplains to use the name of Jesus when praying."

Official military policy allows any sort of prayer, but Lt. Klingenschmitt says that in reality, evangelical Protestant prayers are censored. He cites his training at the Navy Chaplains School in Newport, R.I., where "they have clipboards and evaluators who evaluate your prayers, and they praise you if you pray just to God," he said. "But if you pray in Jesus' name, they counsel you."

Muslim, Jewish and Roman Catholic chaplains are likewise told not to pray in the name of Allah, in Hebrew or in the name of the Trinity, he added.

The American Center for Law and Justice reports:
Christian chaplains are being told NOT to pray in the name of Jesus!

For many Christian chaplains, praying in the name of Jesus is a fundamental part of their beliefs. To suppress this form of expression would be a violation of their constitutional rights and religious freedoms.

Furthermore, to censor Christian chaplains is a disservice to the thousands of Christian soldiers in the military who look to their chaplains for comfort, inspiration, and support ... just as military soldiers of other faiths look to their chaplains.

Again, we cannot allow these proposed guidelines to be passed. We cannot sit idly by while our honored Christian military chaplains are singled out and silenced.

The firs amendment prohibition of the government's establishment of religion should prevent a situation like this. To instruct a minister in what he can and can not say is in effect defining a state religion. The disciplining of chaplains who do not adhere to the government guidelines demonstrates who the authority is. By virtue of such authority the government has established a religion.

To pray -- or not to pray -- in Jesus' name is the question plaguing an increasing number of U.S. military chaplains, one of whom began a multiday hunger strike outside the White House yesterday.

"I am a Navy chaplain being fired because I pray in Jesus' name," said Navy Lt. Gordon Klingenschmitt, who will be holding 6 p.m. prayer vigils daily in Lafayette Park.

The hunger strike is intended to persuade President Bush to issue an executive order allowing military chaplains to pray according to their individual faith traditions. The American Center for Law and Justice has gathered 173,000 signatures on a petition seeking an executive order.

Seventy-three members of Congress have joined the request, saying in an Oct. 25 letter to the president, "In all branches of the military, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Christian chaplains to use the name of Jesus when praying."

Official military policy allows any sort of prayer, but Lt. Klingenschmitt says that in reality, evangelical Protestant prayers are censored. He cites his training at the Navy Chaplains School in Newport, R.I., where "they have clipboards and evaluators who evaluate your prayers, and they praise you if you pray just to God," he said. "But if you pray in Jesus' name, they counsel you."

Muslim, Jewish and Roman Catholic chaplains are likewise told not to pray in the name of Allah, in Hebrew or in the name of the Trinity, he added.

The politically correct position now days does not allow for proselytizing or conversion. The UN has made this concept to be part of its religious rights platform. Government dictating who ay practice what religion or how individuals ay enter or leave a religion makes government in effect a "pope", the arbiter of religious behavior.

Members of Congress are calling on President Bush to preserve the religious freedom of chaplains in the armed services.

Senators and representatives, led by Rep. Walter Jones, R.-N.C., wrote the president asking him to issue an executive order protecting the "right of military chaplains to pray according to their faith." The 71 representatives and two senators said in the letter they had learned in all the military branches "it is becoming increasingly difficult for Christian chaplains to use the name of Jesus when praying."

The lawmakers focused most of their attention on guidelines recently proposed for Air Force chaplains, describing them as restrictive and suppressive. They also expressed concern that the guidelines, if adopted, might be implemented in the other branches of the armed services.

If chaplains cannot serve the God of their religion, they serve no purpose. The government needs to get out of the way of the practice of religion as the constitution requires, or disband the chaplain service. It is unfortunate that only 71 congressmen see the problem. That may indicate why we have so many other problems in government today.

Mmmm Basil's

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Two Courts, Two different Decisions

Two court cases settled today. One that everyone is talking about. A Federal Judge in Dover, PA ruled that a school system could not mention intelligent design in biology class because it violated the constitutional separation of church and state.

In one of the biggest courtroom clashes between faith and evolution since the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, a federal judge barred a Pennsylvania public school district Tuesday from teaching "intelligent design" in biology class, saying the concept is creationism in disguise.

U.S. District Judge John E. Jones delivered a stinging attack on the Dover Area School Board, saying its first-in-the-nation decision in October 2004 to insert intelligent design into the science curriculum violated the constitutional separation of church and state.
-emphasis mine

The second which nobody is talking about. A Federal Appeals Court ruled that Mercer County, KY could display the Ten Commandments on county property because "The First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and state."

A U.S. appeals court today upheld the decision of a lower court in allowing the inclusion of the Ten Commandments in a courthouse display, hammering the American Civil Liberties Union and declaring, "The First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and state."
-emphasis mine

Attorneys from the American Center for Law and Justice successfully argued the case on behalf of Mercer County, Ky., and a display of historical documents placed in the county courthouse. The panel voted 3-0 to reject the ACLU's contention the display violated the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.

The county display the ACLU sued over included the Ten Commandments, the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, the Magna Carta, the Star Spangled Banner, the national motto, the preamble to the Kentucky Constitution, the Bill of Rights to the U. S. Constitution and a picture of Lady Justice.

So which is it? The first court is a lower court so the appeals court takes precedent. If the appeals court is the more compelling, why no coverage?

Coffee at Basil's
and Right Wing Naton

Puppies Smuggled Across U.S.-Mexico

Now we know where Glen Reynolds gets his supplies.

Hundreds of small-breed puppies — many too young or too sick for export — allegedly are smuggled across the U.S.-Mexico border every year, according to a report being released today.

The Border Puppy Task Force, made up of representatives from 14 animal-welfare and law enforcement agencies, gathered statistics from a two-week study showing that large numbers of lap-dog puppies are brought into the United States yearly, said Aaron Reyes, spokesman for the Southeast Area Animal Control Authority.

They're usually smuggled in batches, which can number as high as 30 dogs in one trunk, said U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Vincent Bond.

Blender running at Basil's

Mexico Retaliates for Border Wall Plan

Soon to be filed under "Seemed like a good idea at the time."

The Mexican government, angered by a U.S. proposal to extend a wall along the border to keep out migrants, has struck back with radio ads urging Mexican workers to denounce rights violations in the United States.

Facing a growing tide of anti-immigrant sentiment north of the border, the Mexican government is also hiring an American public relations firm to improve its image.

Mexicans are outraged by the proposed measures, especially the extension of the border wall, which many liken to the Berlin Wall. Some are urging their government to fight it fiercely.

"Our president should oppose that wall and make them stop it, at all costs," said Martin Vazquez, 26, at the Mexico City airport as he returned from his job as a hotel worker in Las Vegas. "More than just insulting, it's terrible."

The US is about to be invaded by a PR campaign. The Mexican President believes the reason Americans are angry about illegal immigration is we just don't understand how wonderful Mexico is. Just imagine the commercials showing the smiling illegal aliens helping old ladies cross the street. Maybe video of starving Americans strung out on the streets for lack of workers at burger joints to provide food.

More worrisome is the Martin Vasquez' of Mexico joining the Mexican army and using force to keep the border open. Mexico has enough problems without repeating the Alamo.

Chheck out Discoshaman at Le Sabot Post-Moderne

A Pedophile Musical

And I thought Brokeback Mountain was over the top.

Around the holidays, the biggest challenge for many theater companies is convincing audiences to care about yet another staging of "A Christmas Carol." This season in Atlanta, however, Actor's Express wants to stir up buzz about a less familiar property -- namely, a pedophile musical.

The Express has already started pushing "Love Jerry," a new tunertuner written and composed by Megan Gogerty that follows the tortured story of Jerry, who develops a sexual relationship with his nephew while trying to stay friends with the boy's father.

That's just the thing for the Christmas season, a pedophile musical. "Springtime for Hitler" has nothing on these folks. The promo poster presented some obvious difficulties.

...Initial poster concepts featuring a man putting candy in a child's hand were jettisoned as being too frank. Now the promos are more suggestive, featuring an eerie shadow of a man in a clown nose staring into a room.

Makes me just want to write those checks to support the arts. What's next a Jeffrey Dahmer comedic farce? More than a wood shampoo is warranted here.

hope this won't spoil breakfast at Basil's
and Right Wing Nation

Monday, December 19, 2005

Bill to Call for Tougher Dog Law in Virginia

Lawmakers are proposing tough legislation to punish dog owners whose pets injure or kill after the attack on an 82-year-old widow who was fatally mauled by three roaming pit bulls.

Dorothy Sullivan's family and some legislators contend Virginia law doesn't give prosecutors much recourse in cases where dogs kill or maim.

The Virginia State Crime Commission has proposed specifying negligent behavior by an animal owner that results in serious harm under the unlawful bodily injury statute, making it a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $2,500 fine.

Under the proposed legislation, the penalties would be harsher for dog owners whose pets previously had been declared dangerous. Owners of dogs declared dangerous would be required to maintain a $300,000 insurance policy, up from the $100,000 required now.

It used to be that a dog that bit had to be watched to determine if it was dangerous. If so it was put down. Now there are dogs already declared dangerous still in the owners custody.

One of the reasons for the increase in dog attacks is there are more people keeping dogs for protection. As in all endeavors there are a few irresponsible individuals who cause most of the problems. These proposed laws may help, although the provision on dogs already declared dangerous is too lenient. A dangerous dog should be put down. It may not be the dog's fault that its owners have made it this way, but if the dog can't be rehabilitated something must be done. Additional insurance is insufficient to stop an attack. Money is a poor substitute for death or disfigurement.

Anything that increases personal reasponiablity is a good thing. Jail time and stiff fines help people focus on the impact they have on their community if only through self intrest. Enhancing community security with grater police presence and allowing citizens greater ability to protect their property such as with "Make my day" legislation, would alleviate the anxiety that drives some to own dangerous dogs.

Breeding and training for fighting is just plain cruelty. Those who do it should get jail time for a first offence or have such huge fines that getting caught would be serious.

Disgruntled Dems Consider Challenge to Lieberman

Nancy Pelosi praises her party for not having just one position on the war in Iraq. "There is no one Democratic voice . . . and there is no one Democratic position," Mrs. Pelosi said in an interview with The Washington Post. That is true except for the position of Sen. Joe Lieberman.

Passions flared after Lieberman's recent trip to Iraq. Upon his return, the three-term senator pointed to what he views as progress on the ground there and suggested that Democrats should avoid harsh criticisms of President Bush's Iraq policy.

"It's at the point where he's no longer interested in his own party's opinion, he's really out of touch with reality," said Mitchell Fuchs, chairman of the Fairfield Democratic Town Committee in Connecticut. "For me, he's crossed the line a number of times."

n an interview with FOXNews.com, former U.S. senator and Connecticut Gov. Lowell Weicker said he will challenge Lieberman in 2006 if no credible anti-war Democrat or Republican jumps into the race first.

The actual Democrat position is there is no one anit-war position. There is no room for a Democrat who sees anything good in Iraq. One can have a differing opinion on the war so long as it's an anit-war opinion.

Meanwhile, a letter with 55,000 signatures — mostly from out of state — was delivered to Lieberman's district office in Hartford last Tuesday urging the senator to stop "trying to stifle debate" on war policy and join "the majority of Americans in questioning President Bush's foreign policy."

The group circulating the letter, Democracy for America, is led by Jim Dean, a Connecticut resident and brother of Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.

I have to chuckle at the unbridled Orwelian statements these people make. Stifling debate would imply Sen. Lieberman was kicking people out of the party. Once again he's guilty of stifling the anti-war unity of the Democrats, but not on debate of war policy at all.

Lunch at Basil's
or bRight& Early

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Morgan Freeman blasts Black-history month as divisive to all Americans

Actor Morgan Freeman has a solution to the problem of racism – "Stop talking about it!"

In a CBS News' 60 Minutes profile of the Oscar-winning actor scheduled to air tonight, Freeman tells Mike Wallace labels like "white" and "black" are an obstacle to defeating racism.

The actor also criticizes Black History Month, saying setting aside a special month actually segregates black history from American history. Calling the idea "ridiculous," Freeman notes there's no "white history month."

"You're going to relegate my history to a month?" Freeman asks Wallace. "I don't want a black history month. Black history is American history," he says.

Back in October Joan Rivers got into a blowout with Dakus Howe, a Trinidad-born social commentator on BBC over being called a racist for saying, "I'm so, so bored of race. I think people should inter-marry. Everybody should be part this, part that and part everything. Race doesn't mean a damn thing. Everybody should just relax, take the best of their cultures and move forward."

Now Morgan Freeman is voicing similar thoughts as Ms. Rivers. These are thoughts common to most people today. Yet listening to Jessie Jackson, Farrakhan, some at the NAACP and others, one would think otherwise. Much of what is passed of as divercity is really just institutionalizing racial division. Both Mr. Freeman and Ms. Rivers are correct. Just ignore race, stop bringing it up because it means nothing.

Each succeeding generation in the US is losing its race conscienceness. The great impediment to a colorblind society are the media and the government. Both automatically separate people by their demographic and highlight differences. White voters, Women voters, African-American voters, Hispanic voters, and on and on. Academia has Women's studies, African-American studies etc. Government forms and programs list an endless variety of groups that have specific laws. People who have spoke against such things have been vilified as racist. The time is here to follow the lead of these two celebrities and just drop it.

I've heard is said that Africans know Americans when they meet them regardless of their color. That is because we are a distinctive people such their color is irrelevant to our identity. We have only begun to move into a colorblind society, but we are way ahead of the rest of the world.

La Shawn Barber turned down by Baltimore Sun for reaction to Freeman's statements
Fearless Philosophy For Free Minds has a look at this issue.

Visit Basil

Congress Votes for Border Fence, Mexico Protests

The Mexican government slammed the U.S. Congress for approving an immigration bill that would tighten border controls and make it harder for undocumented immigrants to get jobs.

The House of Representatives voted in favor of a proposed security fence in selected areas along the border with Mexico to deter illegal immigration, officials said.

The 260-159 voice vote on an amendment to a bill on illegal immigration 'mandates the construction of specific security fencing, including lights and cameras, along the Southwest border for the purposes of gaining operational control of the border.

The first step to getting a grip on illegal immigration is to stem the flow of people coming in illegally. The Congress is correct to address this first. A guest worker program should not be implemented until out borders are respected, either be agreement or by force.

Mexican objections are cynical at best. They need the influx of US dollars to keep the Mexican economy afloat. Without the import of cash the government would have to reform many of its socialist programs. Economic opportunities have been squandered for decades by spending on vote buying programs rather than economic development.

Brunch at Basil's

Santas Go on Rampage

Santa Crawling gets out of hand

A group of 40 people dressed in Santa Claus costumes, many of them drunk, rampaged through New Zealand's largest city, robbing stores and assaulting security guards, police said Sunday.

The rampage, dubbed "Santarchy" by local newspapers, began early Saturday afternoon when the men, wearing ill-fitting Santa costumes, threw beer bottles and urinated on cars from an Auckland overpass, said Auckland Central Police spokeswoman Noreen Hegarty.

She said the men then rushed through a central city park, overturning garbage containers, throwing bottles at passing cars and spraying graffiti on buildings.

Santas entered a downtown convenience store and carried off beer and soft drinks.

"They came in, said 'Merry Christmas' and then helped themselves," store owner Changa Manakynda said.

Alex Dyer, a spokesman for the group, said Santarchy was a worldwide movement designed to protest the commercialization of Christmas.

A new way of bringing in the Christmas season is something started around 1992 where people organize a bar hop dressed as Santa. As anything involving alcohol and large numbers, it can get out of hand.

Any claims of protesting the commercialization of Christmas is of course hogwash. The latest excuse for tacky or tasteless behavior is some kind of protest.


Right Wing Nation

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Project Hero

QandO has the next Silver Star recipient tribute up on their site.

Our hero this week is SSG William Thomas Payne

Five Food Groups of Good Eating

To insure a fine time at the Christmas Table be sure to include all five of the food groups. From "C your way to fine dining" comes this list:

  • Calories
  • Carbohydrates
  • Cholesterol
  • Caffeine
  • Carcinogens

Bush Says Congress Knew About Wire Tap

From President Bush's weekly radio address:

The NSA's activities under this authorization are thoroughly reviewed by the Justice Department and NSA's top legal officials, including NSA's general counsel and inspector general. Leaders in Congress have been briefed more than a dozen times on this authorization and the activities conducted under it. Intelligence officials involved in this activity also receive extensive training to ensure they perform their duties consistent with the letter and intent of the authorization.

We know from the pre-war intel reports that Senators don't read their briefings so maybe it is a surprise to find out the NSA was wiretapping in the US.

Texas Fred has his opinion

Everyone's at Basil's

Friday, December 16, 2005

War and Intel

There is a reason why a declaration of war is important. First it must be done by Congress, then prosecuted by the President. Second it allows the kind of action that the Patriot Act was passed to authorize. Since Congress could not bring itself to make such a decisive declaration we are left with partisan bickering over essential procedures that help apprehend our enemies.

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators, demanding increased protection of civil liberties, defied President George W. Bush on Friday and blocked legislation to renew the USA Patriot Act, a centerpiece of his war on terrorism.

We are also open to the perfidious meddling of the liberal press as Michelle Malkin has so wonderfully pointed out in deconstructing the NY Times piece on wire taping by the NSA.

Then add to this the goofy definitions of torture in the McCain rule banning the proceedure. It is absolute nonsense to say "don't torture but if you must do it go ahead but we'll still take you to court". But to define torture as "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" which basically means our enemies can't be treated like a visiting player is by the home town fans shouting from the bleachers.

As they have made laws that hinder our police from apprehending criminals and the courts from convicting them, now they are doing the same to those who are charged with projecting American security into the world. The Democrats act as if they are embarrassed by our nations power and prosperity It may just be that the leaders of this country no longer, if ever, have the will to advance our interests as a nation. With no confidence in our society they make our enemies more bold and our friends less reliable.

When war powers are given they expire at the end of the war. If legislation is needed to further protect the nation afterwards then Congress can craft them over the time of the conflict rather than at the last minute as the Patriot Act had to be. This Congress acts more as a band wagon rider that master of ceremony. Now we are witnessing the petty turf battles of a Congress infected with people who desire only the acquisition and exercise of power.

More troubling is the leaks coming out of the CIA, NSA or a Senator on the intelligence committee. It is unlikely there is any other source. We cannot conduct national security when our intelligence is not secure. Great indignation has been expressed over the Valeri Plame incident, but nothing about this publishing of CIA and NSA procedures. Plaime is nothing, our efforts to discover what our enemies are up to is crucial. The people doing this are a fifth column, just what the provisions of the Patriot act where designed to discover. No wonder the left wants it gone.

University of Chicago Law school has disussion on legal argument in light of "Authorization of Use of Force"

The authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) says, "the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons."

Michelle Malkin puts it together.
posted at TMH’s Bacon
and Basil's

Thursday, December 15, 2005

L.A. County Website For Anonymous Announcement of STD Infection

Another public service that ignores the problem and excuses responsibility.

Through the website, inSPOTLA.org, users can send a free, unsigned electronic postcard with a standard message or a personal note, thus avoiding an awkward conversation that many people would rather not have. The idea is to help people be more forthcoming with sexual partners so those at risk of sexually transmitted diseases get tested and practice safer sex.

Regardless of whether the partners choose to get tested, studies show that once people are aware that they are infected with HIV, they are likely to dramatically reduce their risky behavior, for example, by using condoms.

If this isn't closing the barn door after the horse has left I don't know what is. Dramatically reducing risky behavior is still risky for the other people involved. Apparently from the launching of this site they don't reduce it enough.

Gibson said, however, that the online notification is less than ideal and recommends that people do it face to face. If possible, he added, it's best to do it in the presence of a counselor.

"Many people are really upset and devastated to get this news," Gibson said.

Now that is an understatement. I think I would be upset and devastated if I found out that I got a deadly disease from someone. Especially if they knew about it beforehand. You'd better have more than a counselor around, which is probably why they have this site.

Worse yet, how about that jerk that just wants to ruin your life. It's anonymous so who's to know. Imagine you're happily married, don't fool around and your wife opens a email saying you might have an STD from a random encounter. How are you going to convince her of the truth, if you live long enough. Believe me I've know people evil enough to do such a thing. It's not funny.

The rising number of sexually transmitted disease infections has been linked, in part, to increasing use of the Internet in the pursuit of casual sex. At websites such as Manhunt.net and in the "casual encounters" section of Craigslist.org, a free listings site, users find dates by describing themselves and posting photos.

And here is where we find the lack of responsibility. People with diseases should not be having anonymous sex. People with their brains in gear shouldn't either. STDs, especially AIDs have a unique protection from personal responsibility because of political correctness. Setting up websites to facilitate the anonymous informing after the fact won't protect people from harm. It will just let the guilty ease their conscience for a while.

Maybe cruising these sites could be determined to be assisted suicide.

In Richmond, Virginia the Chairman of the School Board Stephen B. Johnson was discovered to be using Manhunt.net. He resigned as Chairman but kept his position on the board with much applause.

A poor example for a school system struggling to help students already plagued by bad environment. Yet he has used his sexual orientation to deflect from his stupid and destructive behavior.

Morning at Basil's
Carnival of the Clueless #26 at Right Wing Nuthouse

Key Parts of S.Korea Stem Cell Study Faked

In light of this report do we place stem cell research in the same junk science pile as global warming?

Stem cell scientist Hwang Woo-suk admitted his landmark work was fabricated and agreed to request that the journal Science withdraw his paper on it, his Korean scientific collaborator said Thursday.

Hwang remained tight-lipped regarding Roh's allegations but Prof. Lee Wang-jae at Seoul National University (SNU) confirmed Roh's claims. Lee was expected to lead the university's in-house investigation panel on lingering stem cell doubts.

``We already learned there are no embryonic stem cells and Prof. Ahn Cu-rie (Hwang's associate) also knows it. We can declare today as a day of national infamy,'' Lee said.

In this climate, scientists worry that Hwang's original breakthrough of harvesting the first-ever cloned human embryonic stem cells published by Science in 2004 will also be suspected.

Thus far the study has been trusted and doubts centered only on papers on patient-specific stem cells but things could be different. His other works such as original stem cells and the first dog clone may come under suspicion.

In light of the rush by some states in the US to finance stem cell research there is piles of money to compete for. Nothing like a politically charged issue to gum up the results.

With its fate unsure in the Assembly, acting Gov. Richard Codey's $350 million stem cell research initiative may not be approved in the lame-duck session.

Along with seeking voter approval next November for the money to fund research, Codey is asking the Legislature to OK a $150 million plan to build a research institute in New Brunswick. The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee approved the measure Monday.

In spite of the opposition by pro-life groups to embyonic stem cell research, some states such as NJ are being pushed to allocate funds by grant or loan for stem cell research. It would be ironic if it was the researchers themselves who skittle the effort.

A University of Pittsburgh researcher has called for the removal of his name from a landmark stem cell paper and is petitioning the co-author, embattled South Korean human cloning pioneer Hwang Woo-Suk, to retract the report.

In a letter written Monday to the editors of the journal Science, which published the groundbreaking research in June, Pitt reproductive scientist Gerald Schatten said his "careful re-evaluations of published figures and tables, along with new problematic information, now casts substantial doubts about the paper's accuracy."

The Pitt researcher also told Science that some supporting tests hadn't been carried out as reported in the paper, which Schatten in a statement called "an honest mistake" that wouldn't have had an effect on the study's conclusions.

Science acknowledged receiving Schatten's letter, but spokeswoman Ginger Pinholster said it contained "unsubstantiated allegations" and declined to comment further.

"No single author, having declared at the time of submission his full and complete confidence in the contents of the paper, can retract his name unilaterally, after publication." the journal said in a statement.

Signing on to a report and then wanting to back out indicated a lack of peer review. This is how junk science slips in as legitimate, skewing the debate.

Meet friends at Basil's

Photos from Tookie Protest

Zombie, the chronicler of the bizarre and wacky world of protests in California, has put up photos from the death penalty protest outside of San Quentin.

Before arriving at San Quentin, I had been under the naive impression that the crowd in front would be evenly split between anti-death penalty protesters and pro-death penalty protesters. I was sorely mistaken. I quickly learned that the crowd was 99% anti-death penalty. And a substantial proportion of them were avowed socialists, since several radical groups showed up en masse. For example, this group -- the International Socialist Organization -- are hardcore Trotskyites; dozens of ISO members were at the rally, serving as an (un?)official security crew.

There is a large number of pics with commentary. Well worth the visit if you what to no who these people are that have so much compassion for Tookie, and none for his victims.

Basil's is yummie