Once More Into the Breach

Finding Nonsense and Beating it Sensible

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Location: Virginia

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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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Arizona No Retreat Law

The Arizona Daily Star has published an opinion piece highlighting the newspaper's concerns over pending legislation known as the No Retreat Law.

Self-defense gun bills are gifts to gangsters

Our view: Shifting the burden of proof to the state, rather than the shooter, turns the current law-and-order rule on its head

Bee's bill, which seems to be modeled after one created by the National Rifle Association and now being pushed in 11 states, is sometimes called a "no retreat" law. It permits someone to shoot in self-defense, as Pearce's bill does, but then it takes a leap and says that if a person says the shooting was done in self-defense, it's up to the prosecutor to prove otherwise.

emphasis mine

I guess from their shock that Arizona has yet to discover the presumption of innocence concept. In the rest of the country one is presumed innocent until proven guilty. If that is not the situation in Arizona I would hope that some legislator would rectify it ASAP.

The opinion article goes on to claim that this bill would usher in anarchy. Florida already has such a law so I would think they would have sited the examples of anarchy in that state to bolster their argument, unless there are none. Similar claims were made when the concealed carry laws were being passed. Now 38 states have them and none of the predictions of doom by the hand wringers have materialized. What is it about self defense that causes these folk to wet themselves so?

Update 1 May, 2009: No Retreat Law in Montana and Florida

Carnival of Cordite #46

Drown Out Bush's State of the Union Speech

Having been beaten at every turn, then watching as the Senate Democrats halfheartedly try to do their bidding, the tin foil hat crowd is taking to the streets. I can see the Republicans quaking in their boots at such an uprising NOT.

An organization called World Can't Wait is sponsoring this event
Washington DC: West Side of the Capitol on the National Mall
In DC, we will gather as close as we can to the scene of the impending lies:
We will be on the west side of the Capitol, around and in front of the reflecting pool. The Press will be parked along 3rd Street and along the South Side of the Capitol (Independence).

8:00 pm - Cindy Sheehan and Ann Wright will speak; they will be followed by other speakers (the Rev. Yearwood and Doug Nelson, an Vietnam War vet).
9:00 pm - The main event will begin:

Picture a marching band/brass ensemble, a drum circle, a choir, tap dancers, a rock ensemble, hip-hop poetry, other spoken word, hootenany, African, Asian, Irish glorious soaring rhythmic, each beginning and doing a few minutes in sequence, followed by overlapping moments, followed by at least 30 minutes of jazz-like improv, call and response, followed by one fully stunning long-held harmonious wall of sound that rises to the heavens.

The whole main event lasts 50 minutes, from 9-9:50. It's possible the media might be roused from their hypnotic stance to report on it.

BRING: warm clothes, instruments, noisemakers & FLASH LIGHTS to illuminate truth over lies!

Visit us @ http://www.worldcantwait.org or contact us @ dc@worldcantwait.org (202)536-4313

If it wasn't going to be so cold, I'd hop on down for a good laugh. I wonder what twelve people with noise makers sounds like.

Basil's Picnic

Judge Calls Mans Bluff

Army could keep New York man out of jail

AP reports a Judge in NY says a man convicted of assault has 30 days to enlist in the military or face a year in jail. This is not a join or jail sentence, the Judge is calling the man's bluff. His lawyer claimed that putting his client on probation would prevent him from realizing his plan to join the army. So the Judge gave him the opportunity to do so.

I doubt the army will have him.

I imagine he's thinking probation wasn't such a bad deal after all.

Eminent Domain the Old Fashioned Way

One neighborhood threatened by eminent domain has given in, not to the local government which was using its power to force the residents to sell, but to a developer who did it the old fashioned way, he paid for it.

Huge sums of money are being offered to citizens in the coastal town in Palm Beach County, with a sky's-the-limit mentality changing the minds of many prepared to go the distance in their battle to stay put.

Fox News recently broadcast an edition of "Hannity & Colmes" from Riviera Beach, with the theme "It Could Happen to You," referring to the city government's plan to seize the property of as many as 6,000 residents for a $2.4 billion waterfront-redevelopment program.

Martha Babson was among the critics in the television spotlight, but she is closing on a deal to sell her house tomorrow. She has been offered more than three times the appraised value of her $202,454 home by the son of Miami Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga.

The flurry of sales is pleasing to city officials, who now won't need to use their powers of eminent domain to take the property and relocate the residents who sell.

"These people will go for the right price," Elizabeth Wade, chairman of the Riviera Beach City Council, told the Sun-Sentinel, noting the residents are simply finding the offers too lucrative to pass up.

"I would not call it vindication," she said. "I would call it a great gratification."

Although the issue of eminent domain is not settled, the people in this neighborhood have won. Their persistence paid off in that they have a value given their property that they can live with. They can let their property go with the satisfaction that they were not used.

The local government was trying to pick their pockets to benefit a commercial developer, by using a power granted to facilitate the construction of public use projects such as schools and roads. Lately localities have used this power to satisfy the politicians avarice by condemning residential neighborhoods for the development of private commercial development in hopes of greater tax revenues.

The issue still needs to be dealt with in a decisive manner by the legislature, but in this case it was settled the right way. When everyone can make a dollar, everyone will walk away happy. Governments tend to either give away the store or kill the golden goose when it comes to development because they don't understand this concept.

Basil's Trackback Picnic

Monday, January 30, 2006

What is Restorative Justice

What is this Restorative Justice that is creeping into our justice system? The idea is to bring the criminal and the victim together to reach an understanding that will heal both the criminal and the victim.

The RESTORE Program provides an alternative to conventional justice for both Survivors of sexual assault and the Responsible Persons who commit such crimes. Using a restorative justice model, RESTORE seeks a solution that is healing for Survivors, Responsible Persons, and the community. Dialogue regarding the act, its impact, and consensus on a redress plan lead to the Responsible Person's commitment to action that addresses the situation and fosters remorse and acceptance of responsibility. Survivors avoid retributive justice's sometimes destructive adversarial process that can lead to blaming of Survivors. Survivors are not asked to publicly retell intimate details of the offense or examined by a defense attorney. Survivors are not humiliated through seeking justice. Rather than focusing on the state's punishment of Responsible Persons, RESTORE's implementation of restorative justice is an alternative punishment that offers meaningful opportunities to express remorse and regain the respect of the community by repairing the harm to Survivors. Restorative justice serves to break the isolation and lack of validation felt by crime survivors and focuses on reconnecting Responsible Persons with the law-abiding community.

Sitting around the campfire and singing Kumbaya while holding hands may appeal to the idealistic vision of the brotherhood of man, but it will be a sad illusion in the real world once the curtain is pulled back to reveal the bankruptcy of the concept. The real problem is the human wreckage that will be left in the wake of another failed experiment in social engineering.

The first public example is the case of Judge Cashman of Vermont who gave a child rapist a 60 day sentence so he could get "therapy".

Kerry and the Filibuster

The big day has come and Sen. Kerry is calling the confirmation of Judge Alito to the Supreme Court the vote of a lifetime. Only problem is most of his Democrat colleges feel the battle is over so why add embarrassment to the sting of their defeat.

Senator Barack Obama predicts an effort to filibuster a final vote on Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito will fail.

The Illinois Democrat tells ABC's "This Week" that his party needs to convince the public "their values are at stake," rather than relying on stall tactics to stop the president.

Senators John Kerry and Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts are urging fellow Democrats to support a filibuster, but they don't appear to have enough votes.

Senators Kerry and Kennedy who both represent Massachusetts and both exercise the worst political instincts are liable to find their fellow Democrats offering them a bottle of vodka and a pistol.

USS Iowa Could be Politically Correct Museum

The sickening moon bats of the San Francisco City Government can bring themselves to host a Battleship Museum, it's just too militaristic. Now the organization looking to place the ship in San Francisco's harbor is willing to make the ship a museum to nitwit political correctness, with mixed results.

Last July, San Francisco's county supervisors voted 8-3 against bringing the vintage World War II battleship Iowa to San Francisco as a permanent tourist attraction. Some opponents said they were taking a stand against both the war in Iraq and a military that boots out gays and lesbians, a powerful faction in local politics.

But now, advocates of the move are trying to woo the supervisors with a promise to create a privately funded dockside museum that will tell the story of minorities in the military, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender troops.

"Our feeling was that this would make it a better fit for San Francisco," said Jim Maloney, director of the Military Education Initiative, a group that supports the lifting of restrictions on gays in the military. "Adding in the component of LGBT service would be obviously quite unique," he said.

The new plan also calls for an annual peace symposium on the Iowa, which has a storied record of combat in the South Pacific and off the Korean coast.

Even Sen. Dianne Feinstein has put up a law to let other jurisdictions bid on the ship museum in hopes to pressure the city to accept the offer.

I say this could be an opportunity to use eminent domain to take San Francisco and develop it into an American city.

Abortion Causes Mental Health Problems for Women

Pro Abortion advocates want to include mental health as one of the criteria for health of the mother exemptions included in any bills restricting abortion. Their assumption is a woman carrying a child to term will suffer increased mental problems if the child is unplanned. A study in New Zealand has demonstrated quite the opposite.

Abortion destroys the psychological health of teenage girls. This is the finding of a large new study that has statistics on this point so dramatic that even pro-lifers may have trouble believing them. The pro-abortion lead author of the study, Prof. David Fergusson of Christchurch School of Medicine & Health Sciences in Christchurch, New Zealand, told Australia's ABC news, in summary, that abortion causes mental health problems, not the other way around, and women's backgrounds had nothing to do with it.

Depression, anxiety and other negative effects occurred after the abortions, the researchers said. These are not cases of depressed, drug-addicted or otherwise disturbed women being more likely to abort their children—the abortions preceded the disturbances.

In this study, published in the latest issue of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, Fergusson and his two collaborators found that girls 15 to 18 who had not gotten pregnant had a 31.2% chance of experiencing major depression. Those who became pregnant but did not have an abortion had a 35.7% chance. But those who had an abortion had an astonishing 78.6% chance.

For anxiety, the statistics were similar. No pregnancy: 37.9%; pregnancy, no abortion: 35.7%; abortion: 64.3%.

And for ideas of suicide, a horrific mark of mental illness, the figures should be enough to convince anyone who cares about young women to desire a ban on abortion for minors. No pregnancy: 23%; pregnancy, no abortion: 25%; abortion: 50%.

The shift in public opinion is toward the prolife view. This is mainly because as women who have had abortions mature and come to terms with the reality of what abortion is, they are wanting to prevent other women from experiencing the same struggle they have had.

This study demonstrates clearly the fallacy of the health exception sought by the abortion advocates. If they truly care for the mental health of pregnant women they will take this study to heart and press for more open dissemination of information on the risks of abortion. Unfortunately the truth is the first casualty when it comes to abortion.

St. Pete Beach: City sues citizens

One of the more curious situations that crops up frequently is the efforts of elected bodies to stop the citizens they represent from forcing them to do what the citizens want. The candidate for office once elected quickly transforms from a representative of the citizens to a representative of the government.

The city of St. Pete Beach, Fla., has filed suit against five residents who say they are opposed to a redevelopment plan officials claim will increase population and tax bases.

In what appears to be another case of eminent domain, with the city claiming an unchangeable right to redevelop the quiet beachfront community, officials say they retained legal services after the rebellious residents collected signatures on a petition demanding the issue be put to a vote, WTSP-TV in Tampa-St. Petersburg reported yesterday.

According to the city's charter, citizens can call for a vote on "any adopted ordinance," but city officials decided to sue because they say the state won't allow citizens the right to vote on a redevelopment plan like the one under consideration.

What's more, they have denied they are using taxpayer funds to sue taxpayers.

"It's not about suing citizens," Mike Bonfield, St. Pete Beach city manager, told WTSP. But, he admitted, "that's the only legal mechanism we have in the legal system.

But Linda Chaney, one of the five residents behind the petition drive, said city officials "are using the unlimited funds of the taxpayers dollars to stop the taxpayers from voting and expressing their will on their own city."

Bonfield repeated, however, "it is not a matter of suing people, it's making sure what is put in front of the residents is valid."

If the city is not using taxpayer funds to finance this suit then the city must have some income that does not come from the citizens. I for the life of me can't think of what that would be. Fees, interest, fines and such are still derived from the citizens for the use of the city for the benefit of those same citizens. The scramble to sweep up as large a pile of funds on the part especially of local politicians has become an end unto itself. Trying to prevent citizens from exercising some control over this can only increase the cynicism of the electorate.

Tenn. Driving Papers A Hot Item Nationally

If You Build It They Will Come.

In the argument over how to deal with illegal Immigration the two sides are basically :

1. Close the border and stop the incentives first, then provide some way for people to come and work.

2. Make a way for people to work here and the border problem will be easier to deal with.

I fall squarely with the first option. Following is just one example of why the second will not work

Tennessee's driving certificate for illegal immigrants isn't valid as a form of ID, but people are paying hundreds of dollars on the black market and traveling hundreds of miles to get one.

Tennessee has issued more than 51,000 certificates since it became the first state to offer them in July 2004, but not every certificate has gone to someone living there.

Two major federal arrests in recent months exposed shuttles bringing South and Central American immigrants from as far away as New Jersey to state licensing centers in Knoxville, where the immigrants got certificates using fake residency papers.

Last week, a third sweep revealed an alleged conspiracy in which prosecutors say state license examiners in Murfreesboro, outside Nashville, accepted bribes to provide illegal immigrants with driver's licenses and certificates without testing.

By providing any hope of legitimacy before securing our border we will only increase the incentive for more people to cross illegally. More of our citizens will be tempted to take bribes and more counterfeit documents will be manufactured.

We must stop the employment of illegal aliens and secure our border. The economic arguments claiming illegal workers are a benefit are insufficient to justify lawlessness. To make some provision to accommodate past lawless behavior will undermine efforts to secure the border.

People seeking employment are not the only ones crossing over. There is a real effort on the part of our enemies to infiltrate for the purpose of doing us harm. Whether it is Islamofacists or narcoterrorist the reality is we are engaged in a cold war with Mexico.

The politicians fear a collapse of Mexico's economy if we stop illegal immigration. They also see the legitimized illegals as a future voting block they can stick in their pocket. We as citizens must make our interests more critical to their reelection than the anticipated benefit of the accommodated illegal population. The one of the first steps is to stop this driving certificate nonsense.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Project Hero

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

Our hero this week is SGT Leigh Ann Hester

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Judge Cashman and the Restorative Justice Movement

The O'Rielly Factor, 27 January, 2006 brought to light the involvement of the Vermont judge, Cashman who originally gave a sentence of 60 days to a child rapist has been a participant in a new justice philosophy called Restorative Justice. Curious I began to research this concept. What I have discovered is another New Age philosophy that has been insinuating itself into the world's justice system quietly seeking to transform the way we view crime and criminals.

Angkana Boobsit, Ph.D in a presentation to the UN Congress outlined the restorative justice concept as it is practiced in Thailand. An excerpt shows the effort to take a simple concept for dealing with simple problems and then trying to extend that to all conflicts.

The restorative justice idea stems from the practice of putting the offender and the victim together to impress on the offender the consequences of his action, then come to terms with the victim on how to make them whole. While acknowledging that most people view this is an accepted practice for relatively minor crimes, the goal of the restorative justice movement is to extend its application to all crime.

The committee decided to target restorative justice in the pre-sentence investigation stage. It was limited only to cases of victimization, and only some offences. The main reason to limit was because most of the committee understood that restorative justice can apply only to compoundable cases and not to felony cases. Even though I do not agree completely, I think it is alright as a beginning. So we started restorative practice with pilot projects in 11 probation offices.

To accomplish this feat in the face of limited acceptance they want to alter the very way people perceive crime and punishment as if mellinnia of human experience is insufficient for the purpose.

Some understand that restorative justice is a new method for conflict resolution. Some understand restorative justice to be a mediation process for compromise, or for payment. In fact, restorative justice is the new paradigm, a new set of beliefs. To change paradigms means to change ways of thinking, to change beliefs, to change attitudes, to change viewpoints. So, it is very significant to make clear in the paradigm. I have always started the training course by working to instill in my trainees/students an understanding of the paradigm.

Similarly in Canada the effort to bring Restorative Justice into a universal application has met resistance.

Restorative Justice in Nova Scotia
The Nova Scotia Restorative Justice (NSRJ) program was implemented in 1999 after two years of pre-implementation planning. It aimed at implementing the restorative justice approach throughout the criminal justice system (CJS), having the premise that restorative justice, in some modality, could be applicable to all offenders and all offences throughout the province.

The NSRJ program has yet to expand, as projected, to respond to adult offending (there is an "alternative measures" or diversion program available for adults) but discussions are on-going on that issue. Also, a moratorium on dealing with cases of spousal/partner violence and sexual assaults remains in effect. The moratorium was put into effect in early 2000 in response to concerns raised by certain women's organizations and others over the proposed referral of such cases at post-conviction levels of the justice system. Considerable effort, via, for example, conferences and regional meetings, has been extended by NSRJ, in discussing issues and possibilities of restorative processing of such offences, in collaboration with representatives of the women's organizations and others.

Not deterred by reasonable objections to the application of this program to adult crimes, they wish to "educate" their opposition. The problem with this goal is they have no proof of results. At least they have no acceptable proof.

During the spring of 2003, I completed an internship at the Reinventing Justice
Project with a focus on the Restorative Probation. Despite its longevity, the program organizers had never conducted an evaluation, partly due to the budget restrictions. The other issue was how to accurately measure program impact. Most probation evaluations focus on recidivism to judge the success or failure of the programs; however, recidivism is not an applicable criteria for Restorative Probation. The main goal of restorative work is to heal relationships damaged by crime. It is enormously difficult to measure the outcomes of this type of goal through evaluation

Strehorn, Molly Ryan (2004). Restorative Probation in Franklin Country, Massachusetts. University of Massachusetts Center for Public Policy and Administration. Retrieved January 28, 2006,

With no way, or perhaps no willingness to test the results of the program other that to say people feel good afterwards is to admit that this effort is a failure before it starts. Society wants to be protected from evil people. The unwillingness to equate criminal activity with evil intent makes this goal impossible. That is why they seek to alter the perception of crime and criminals in the public's mind. Restorative Justice cannot protect the public so they wish to get the public to accept a new understanding of what crime is. This is how we end up with a judge in Vermont giving a child rapist 60 days in jail.

Judge Cashman has increaced his sectencing of the child rapist to 3-10 years with all the likelyhood that the man will be out in three years. Still an unacceptable punishment, but Cashman never said he thought punishmnet was apropriate here. If any good can be said to come of this case it is the revelation of the worldwide effort to make restorative justice the new paradigm. For warned is for armed.

For more info look at the Center for Restorive Justice web site

Basil's Picnic
Carnival of the Trackbacks XLVIII
CARNIVAL OF THE CLUELESS #31 at Right Wing Nuthouse
Other aticals on Cashman
Judge Cashman Changes Ruling at Conservative Thinking
Vermont’s Judge Cashman Painted Into A Corner at For Your Consideration
Under Pressure, Judge Cashman Increases Child Rapist Sentence at Tammy Bruce
Vermont Judge Cashman changes sentence at In The Bullpen
Best Of Homespun Bloggers February 5th

Friday, January 27, 2006

Italian Priest on Trial for Asserting Jesus' Existence

The trial has begun. Two former seminarians, one a Catholic Priest, the other who left seminary to become an Atheist are in court. The Atheist is suing the Priest claiming fraud, that the teaching that Jesus was a real person is a deliberate falsehood.

Opening arguments began Friday in the case of an Italian priest who was accused by an atheist of breaking two Italian laws by stating that Jesus Christ existed.

Lawyers for the prelate, Rev. Enrico Righi, and his accuser, Luigi Cascioli, headed into the closed-door hearing in the courtroom in Viterbo, north of Rome, to learn whether the judge would dismiss the case or order Righi to stand trial.

Cascioli says that for 2,000 years the Roman Catholic Church has been deceiving people by furthering the fable that Christ existed, and says the church has been gaining financially by ``impersonating" as Christ someone by the name of John of Gamala, the son of Judas from Gamala.

He has said he has little expectation that the case will succeed in overwhelmingly Roman Catholic Italy, but says he is merely going through the necessary legal steps so he can ultimately take the case to the European Court of Human Rights, where he intends to pursue the case against the church for "religious racism."

The courts seem to be the last refuge of those who what to effect society but can't get anyone to listen to them. I have no clue what "religious racism." is as it pertains to whether or not Jesus actually lived. I'm sure it makes sense to Mr. Cascioli.

BB&T No Loans to Developers Using Eminent Domain

Few people like banks and even fewer like big banks. BB&T, one of the largest banks in the mid-Atlantic is taking a stand for property rights that may impact earnings.

BB&T Corp. says it will lend no money to developers that take land from citizens to build shopping centers, condominiums and other private projects using eminent domain.

"This is a rarity -- a bold move by BB&T," Richard Coughlan, associate dean of the University of Richmond's Robins School of Business, said yesterday.

"The company is willing to forgo revenue and profits in pursuit of values."

Winston-Salem, N.C.-based BB&T, one of the largest employers in the Richmond area, announced the decision Wednesday in response to a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June that allows governments to seize personal property for private development.

Eminent domain traditionally was used by government to obtain property for highways, utilities and other public facilities. The high court's ruling allowing expanded authority was based on the promise of jobs and tax revenue from private development.

BB&T said it was optimistic about pending legislation, but it could not wait.

"The idea that a citizen's property can be taken by the government solely for private use is extremely misguided, in fact it's just plain wrong," John Allison, BB&T chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

I bank with this company and as all large institutions, they have issues, but the understanding of the importance of property rights is not one of them. I cannot stress enough how pivotal this issue is for our future economic prosperity. Without the protection of personal property prosperity will be difficult to obtain.

George Bush and Halliburton Conquer Canada

Because the Vast Right-wing Conspiracy has taken over the media in Canada you probably didn't realize that our neighbor to the north has been conquered by the Oil industry and their willing accomplice the Bush administration.

Gore believes the issue of the oilsands and the sway he contends the industry holds with Harper didn't garner news coverage during the election because "media concentration has taken a toll on democratic principles around the world, and Canada is no exception."

"The election in Canada was partly about the tar sands projects in Alberta," Gore said Wednesday while attending the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

"And the financial interests behind the tar sands project poured a lot of money and support behind an ultra-conservative leader in order to win the election . . . and to protect their interests."

How Gore reaches this conclusion would be interesting to know since the contribution restrictions in Canada are strict not to mention the Conservatives want to make them more so. Ah but that is part of the conspiracy, those lying liars that lie.

The federal Elections Act limits how much money individuals, corporations and unions can donate to political parties. Individuals are allowed to give as much as $5,000 a year, while companies and unions are capped at $1,000 a year.

In their election platform, the Conservatives promised to further limit individual donations to a maximum of $1,000 and ban all donations from corporations, unions and organizations.

Thank heavens we have Al Gore to shine the light of truth. Think of the world we would have had he been made president... shudder ...no don't . It's not pretty.


Government Targets Small Church to Build Shopping Area

If this kind of action by local governments is allowed to continue then any church property could be seized since they are tax exempt.

A small church in Oklahoma has come up against the large hand of the state as it faces possible seizure to make room for a tax-generating shopping center.

Centennial Baptist Church has been ministering to the black community of Sand Springs for years, led by its pastor, Roosevelt "Rosey" Gildon. But the city says the church building, which sees about 50 congregants gather on Sunday mornings, is in the way of progress – Sand Springs' controversial "Vision 2025" project. The project reportedly is to be anchored by a Home Depot.

Ousting a church from its building has become possible for city officials thanks to last summer's Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. New London, in which the justices cleared the way for a government to seize private land to be turned over to private developers.

The foundation of prosperity is the protection of personal property rights. Without this protection the incentive to produce will be replaced by the need to protect. What innovation requires is a security of investment. If those investments are subject to seizure by the state they will cease to exist and with them innovation. The result is stagnation.

It used to be that when the government wanted a property, it paid a premium for it. Now the opposite is true. Governments typically low ball the land owner with the excuse "we want to look out for the interests of the citizens." ignoring the fact that the person they are taking the property from is a citizen.

Filibuster? Make My Day

Yesterday all the tin hats were putting their hopes in Robert Byrd for a filibuster on the Alito nomination. Byrd, who is up for reelection this year has read the tea leaves, stuck his finger in the air and fond that Alito is not such a bad guy once you get to know him. So their champion John Kerry has stepped up to the plate by calling from Switzerland to encourage his fellow travelers to do the deed.

Sen. George Allen (R.-Va.), who like Kerry is frequently mentioned as presidential candidate in 2008, ripped his Democratic colleague for making the suggestion—from Davos, Switzerland, nonetheless.

"Well, hearing this news today, Senator Kerry must be feeling lucky because he wants to make my day. If Senate Democrats follow his advice, then I say we must pull the trigger on the Constitutional option. Senators should vote on this nomination and not hide behind partisan political processes to deny this exemplary nominee the fairness of a vote. Senators can vote 'yes' or vote 'no', but it is our responsibility to vote," said Allen.

Allen rightly observes that a filibuster will cement the perception of the Democrats as leftist kooks. If the best hopes of the left is to complain in the extreme (which is all the filibuster is) then the handwriting is on the wall. If only there was an party that was firm in its convictions to reduce government taxing and spending that could take advantage of the void.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Bigfoot Fever Hits Malaysia, Hunting Team Formed

The excitement over a sighting of Bigfoot in Malaysia has griped the media. Now the government has put together a team to hunt the elusive legend.

Johor Chief Minister Abdul Ghani Othman said the state will form an official Bigfoot-tracking team in a serious bid to find evidence of such a beast following the reported sightings late last year in the Endau Rompin National Park forest.

"The mystery of Bigfoot's existence has attracted a lot of interest," he was quoted as saying by the Bernama national news agency. "We hope the expedition will be able to prove its existence."

Malaysian media have been gripped by Bigfoot fever since November 2005, when fish farm workers reported seeing three giant human-like hairy beasts at the edge of the Endau Rompin reserve. They also claimed to have seen a gigantic footprint which they photographed

Tourism authorities are planning to capitalize on the sightings to attract visitors to Johor and the park. Wildlife officials said they may set up camera traps in the jungle to capture images of the creature.

Quite possibly the Yeti of the Himalayas brought the family down for some R&R only to be disturbed by some nosey locals. Perhaps they'll just build a Bigfoot theme park to bring in more of those tourist dollars

Ford and GM to Merge

satire alert

Ford and GM have announced that they will merge. In the face of increasing competition from foreign auto makers and declining sales they have determined to join as one company. "We want to stop working against each other and combine to take back the American auto markets." Read a press release.

To make a stark contrast to the competition they will name the combined companies American Motors.

"We wish to bring back the best of American auto heritage" said a spokesman. They also announced that their first new model will be called the Gremlin II.

Vermont Judge Increases Sentence for Child Rapist

Fox news just reported that the 60 day sentence for Mark Hulett to 3 to 10 years. Hardly a satisfactory sentence for a man who raped a child for four years. The reasoning for such lenient treatment of such a horrible crime is the hope that therapy will cure this man. The proof of course will be after his release. If he rapes another child we will know if it works or not.

What kind of society do we have that this person is not seen for what he is by the authorities that are responsible for meeting out justice. Why can't we take the position that some activities are so evil that those who do them should be permanently removed from society? We don't have to kill them, but we don't need to leave them wander free either.

Update: I thought "what was he thinking?" So I found out.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Fairies Stop Developers' Bulldozers

Most people here in the US know of the travails citizens have gone trough to build on their own property only to be stopped by tree huggers claiming a need to protect some endangered cockroach or rare grass. The Ninth District court ruled last year that proof of harm was necessary to stop a project rather than the mere existence of an endangered species.

The Pacific Legal Foundation has represented many landowners in cases where environmentalists have brought actions against landowners, where the only apparent reason for the action was to stop development or other economic activity.

Russ Brooks, managing attorney for Pacific Legal Foundation's Pacific Northwest Center, said; "For the Jones family, like other citizens in Idaho and across the west, the Endangered Species Act has brought nothing but despair, hardship, and lawsuits. Instead of restoring fish, the ESA has been used by environmental groups to hurt people who work the land for a living."

Over in the UK however the situation has taken a bizarre twist.

Villagers who protested that a new housing estate would "harm the fairies" living in their midst have forced a property company to scrap its building plans and start again.

Marcus Salter, head of Genesis Properties, estimates that the small colony of fairies believed to live beneath a rock in St Fillans, Perthshire, has cost him £15,000.

He said: "A neighbour came over shouting, 'Don't move that rock. You'll kill the fairies'."

"Then we got a series of phone calls, saying we were disturbing the fairies. I thought they were joking. It didn't go down very well,"

The Planning Inspectorate has no specific guidelines on fairies but a spokesman said: "Planning guidance states that local customs and beliefs must be taken into account when a developer applies for planning permission." Mr Salter said: "We had to redesign the entire thing from scratch."

That's right a whole development redesigned to preserve fairies. Hey! Don't laugh, little people have rights! But really someone should explain that all they need to do is think good thoughts and Tinkerbell won't die. Haven't they seen Peter Pan? The matter is settled I guess. They build around the rock leaving the fairies unmolested.

Could be the next tactic used here now the Ninth District has ruled against the environmentalists.

Thanks again to PHenry

Basil's Picnic

Carnival of the Trackbacks XLVIII

An Honest Moon Bat Kinda Sorta

Joel Stein , who somehow thinks he's being funny is actually expressing the truth about what the left really thinks about our troops. I wish the whole bunch of them stop pretending that they hold any affection for America and just come out and say what they think, that America is the source of evil in the world. Then I want them all to get out and go live in a nation that they can be proud of.

...I'm not for the war. And being against the war and saying you support the troops is one of the wussiest positions the pacifists have ever taken — and they're wussy by definition. It's as if the one lesson they took away from Vietnam wasn't to avoid foreign conflicts with no pressing national interest but to remember to throw a parade afterward.

But when you volunteer for the U.S. military, you pretty much know you're not going to be fending off invasions from Mexico and Canada. So you're willingly signing up to be a fighting tool of American imperialism, for better or worse. Sometimes you get lucky and get to fight ethnic genocide in Kosovo, but other times it's Vietnam.

I'm not advocating that we spit on returning veterans like they did after the Vietnam War, but we shouldn't be celebrating people for doing something we don't think was a good idea. All I'm asking is that we give our returning soldiers what they need: hospitals, pensions, mental health and a safe, immediate return. But, please, no parades.

Seriously, the traffic is insufferable.

Insufferable is people such as Mr. Stein who enjoys the many benefits of being American while complaining about the country which is the source of such benefits. The sad part of this moon bat outlook is it's just sour grapes for their party having lost control of the government, evidenced by his lauding of the mission to Kosovo as something worthy yet condemning Iraq as some imperial adventure having nothing to do with our security. What is the difference? Clinton initiated the Kosovo intervention, Bush initiated Iraq.

So Joe Stein gets brownie point for finally being honest about his contempt for our military, but still needs to gain some honesty in his critique of their missions. After having done so he could then admit to the similarity of views to Osama Bin-Laden and their shared enthusiasm for the writings of Mr. Blum.

The LA Times who printed this column is probably still wondering where all their readers are going.

Independent Conservative says Joel Stien, What an Idiot

Zombie Time at the Waik for Life

Zombietime, the photo essay site which brings us the images from public protests in the San Francisco area has just put up the images fro the Walk for Life. No effort is made by the author to give the merits of either side, but merely present the events as they unfold.The photo is from that site.

The page is not meant to be an argument for one side or the other, nor does it analyze the merits of either position. It is simply an essay about what happened that day, and what people did.

Even before the march began, trouble was brewing. While the Walk for Life organizers set strict guidelines for behavior to keep the march peaceful, the pro-choice crowd actively encouraged wildcat actions to disrupt the planned event at any cost (as the calendar listing said, "Autonomous direct actions to shut down the march are also encouraged").

Basil's Ping Picnic

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Opposite of Fear

While reading "Gates of Fire" an historical novel about the battle of Thermopile, I read a conversation between two characters exploring the question "what is the opposite of fear? Naturally I thought courage, but what seems courage can still be fear. Fear of shame for not facing danger can be more motivating than fear of injury or even death. Or fearlessness may be nothing more than ignorance of the danger. So what is the opposite of fear?

Near the conclusion of the book they offered that love was the opposite. That love for one's country, comrade, or God conquers fear. The scriptures say that love conquers all, yet knowing God loves me, I still find fear lurking. I see people who may not be aware of God's love yet they in some ways demonstrate a lack of fear. The men who work on skyscrapers for instance. They move about freely at heights that would make a saint quiver with apprehension. I can't assume they are all believers so something else is working here.

Reading Hebrews chapter 11 I realized the answer. Faith is what opposes fear. Faith in training and his own skill is what keeps the man on top of the skyscraper from fear of heights. Likewise, faith in God's presence keeps the believer from fearing loneliness. What I now find is a necessity to learn to have faith in each aspect of life. If I need to assess my relationship with God, I look to see what aspects of my life do I still harbor fear.

And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. Hebrews 11:32-38

One can have real faith in one aspect and none in another. The process of changing that is called sanctification. As I live out this life, God reveals each area of my life that needs work, then begins to teach me how to have faith in Him for each one. Though I am stiff necked and proud, He is faithful and patient. Ultimately it is His love for me that conquers my lack of faith in Him.

America Supports You: Virginia Group Supports Wounded Troops, Families

I've met and worked with Peggy Baker and found her to be very credible and compassionate. Not many charities have impressed me as this one has. This is an organization that everyone should get behind.
Wounded servicemembers have an extra helping hand thanks to Operation First Response, a group specializing in providing them supplies and funds during their recuperation.

Peggy Baker of Culpepper, Va., founder and president of the all-volunteer nonprofit, answered questions from interested troops Jan. 19 at the Washington Capitals' "Salute to the Military Night" at the MCI Center here. While thousands of servicemembers and their families enjoyed free tickets to the hockey game against the St. Louis Blues, Baker took the opportunity to offer assistance.

"We're kind of an extension. Where somebody will fall through the loops, we try to pick it up," she said.

As a member of America Supports You, a Department of Defense-sponsored effort to support the troops, the organization has found ways to provide a variety of services to show troops "they are heard, cared about, and honored," Baker said.

Baker, whose son is an Army specialist, said she founded OFR after she noticed a need while helping a friend. "My girlfriend's boy lost his leg, and I went into Walter Reed to meet with her to help her because she was from Iowa, and just saw a lot of things that we could actually do as citizens," she said.

Check out their web site at Operation First Response and
America Supports You

Book of Daniel Floating at the Top of the Fish Bowl

The entertainment industry tucks its tail while patting itself on the back for being "creative".

NBC's "The Book of Daniel" may have launched to great controversy and hoopla.

But, today, the show ended with a whimper – pulled unceremoniously from NBC's Friday night schedule, effective immediately, with no more of an announcement than an entry on an NBC blog by creator Jack Kenny.

"Unfortunately, due to many reasons, 'The Book of Daniel' will no longer be aired on NBC on Friday nights," he wrote to fans. "I just wanted to say 'thank you' to all of you who supported the show. There were many wonderful, talented people who contributed to its success – and I do mean success. Whatever the outcome, I feel that I accomplished what I set out to do: A solid family drama, with lots of humor, that honestly explored the lives of the Webster family. Good, flawed people, who loved each other no matter what ... and there was always a lot of 'what'! I remain proud of our product, proud of my association with Sony, NBC Universal, and NBC, who all took a chance on a project that spoke to them, and proud to have made an impact on so many of your lives."

One of the many reasons is too few people were looking at it. With that came too few sponsors. So where was the "success" that he mentions? It is in the thumbing of the nose at religion and traditional morality. This series resembled the Osbourns more than any solid family drama. The characters are not flawed, they're twisted. While the viewing public has a capacity for junk programing (see any reality show} there is a limit to the offensiveness they'll support. As desperate as they are to publicly celebrate deviancy there is also a limit to how often the networks can produce shows like this, its called economics.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Gov. Kaine Modifies Promise on Taxes

The campaign is over, the oath of office has been taken and now we find out what the Governor meant when he said he would not raise taxes until the Constitution was amended to protect transportation funds.

In the following statements made during the campaign. Kaine spelled out his tax and tranportation plans.

Virginian-Pilot, July 17, 2005

Kaine repeated that he will not support a tax increase or new revenue source for road building until the state constitution is amended to prevent the legislature from borrowing those funds for other purposes. Under that limit, he could not consider new funding proposals until 2009.

Candidates offer transportation ideas
TIMES-DISPATCH, Oct 26, 2005

Kaine said he has no plan to raise the gas tax, but he doesn't rule it out either. His campaign says he is open to discussing tolls but that he generally opposes tolls on current roads to pay for projects elsewhere.

"I'm not taking a no-tax pledge, and I'm not taking a tax-by-referendum pledge. But I won't support increases to the revenue sources unless the legislature, you know, is just rock-solid on protecting the [trust-fund] monies for the advertised purpose," he said.
emphasis mine

Now the rubber hits the road and we find that there is a nuance to his plan to wait until the amendment is passed before increasing taxes.

Governor, Senate leaders unveil transportation plans
Virginian-Pilot, January 21, 2006

House Republicans immediately pounced on the new governor, accusing him of backing away from a commitment.

"It didn't take him long to break his promise not to raise taxes without a lock box," said Del. Clarke N. Hogan, R-Halifax. "That affects his credibility."

Kaine insisted he never promised to delay action on transportation needs until the three-year process for amending the constitution was completed. He vowed to veto any budget or legislation that shifted money away from transportation projects.

So what is it? Wait until 2009 as he said on Oct 26, or pass them now with a promise of an amendment? It never ceases to amaze me how quick a politician can abandon a promise made in campaign once the office he desired is secure. Also curious is the rush to grab funds before any real plans are made as to what the projects will be. If some specific proposals were available to judge by the public then perhaps some taxes may be accepted in light of the budgetary situation, but just sweeping up a pile of money first doesn't reassure the voter that a spending frenzy is not far behind.

Gov. Kaine should stick with his promise that until an amendment is passed, no tax increases will be sought. Without the control in place first, the politicians can't be trusted to spend the funds as intended. It is precisely the situation the we had with the lottery money. They said it would be for education, but it went straight to the general fund. It took many years to get a lock box on the lottery funds to stop the spending of them on general expenses. There is no reason to expect that this time will be any different.

Gov. Kaine, stop trying to scam the public and keep your promise.

Hat tip to PHenry

Basil's picnic

Commonwealth Conservative shows Kaine lacks support
Raising Kaine shows what he would support

HELLO IRAQ links with Gov. Kaine speaks with a forked tongue.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Stars Accept Pay Cuts as Hollywood Profits Slip

Hollywood has been perplexed for many years over slumping box office sales. Now the pay scales of the top stars are coming down. Not that we need to pass the hat, the top is still $10-20 million per film, but the reality is that Hollywood is missing something. People are not going to theaters as they once were.

Facing declining cinema audiences, Hollywood is trying to persuade its top actors to set an example by cutting back a lucrative arrangement known as "first dollar", under which the director, producer and stars receive a share of a film's box office take regardless of whether the studio has covered its filming costs.

Hanks had been expected to share 40% of the takings of The Da Vinci Code — to be released in May — with Ron Howard, the director, and Brian Grazer, the producer, in addition to their own fees. Instead, they will reportedly settle for 25%. Studios hope this will become the industry standard, claiming that this will leave them with more money to spend on the films.

No actors will publicly admit that they have lowered their price but industry reports suggest that Hanks is not alone. Cameron Diaz, who is second only to Julia Roberts in the female stars' pay scale but still earns on average half a top male star's salary, is said to have agreed to forgo her "first dollar" deal to star in a romantic comedy called Holiday.

Family groups have complained that their tastes are ignored and rightly so. The studios ignored the evidence that GP rated films did better than R rated. They held to the maxim that religious films were money losers. They also catered to the plea for "artistic integrity" on the part of Directors and producers over commercial viability. The greatest failure has to be the drive to win the big awards over the box office, a myopic pitfall where one seeks to please their friends rather than their customers. Brokeback Mountain is a case in point.

Spielberg supporters blame Universal chief Stacey Snider, an enthusiastic "Brokeback" cheerleader, for the Olympic drama's sagging box office sales.

"Stacey and her team believe 'Brokeback Mountain' is their winner this year," complained a well-placed studio insider to the Drudge Report. "The movie has been spoiled, spoiled and spoiled again, with endless promotion and support. 'Munich,' on the other hand, has been horribly neglected."

Even with that it's their cluelessness about what people want to look at that is hurting them. The Passion of the Christ revealed a market for the religious film, but their answer to that is The Da Vinci Code, more sci-fi than religion. They can't handle anything related to 9-11 because they can't bring themselves to be patriotic. Munich is the best they can do and it's neutral at best. They feel so compelled to send a message that they are driving the audience away. The entertainment industry as the domestic auto industry is failing because neither can understand their customers. They both behave as if they know best.

The ticket and refreshment costs have become so excessive that DVD and home theater have become a real alternative to the box office. It doesn't take long for a DVD come from Netflix. Rental, Pay per View and Tivo are just too convenient. The customer doesn't need the box office. The movie industry is becoming ala carte and people aren't choosing the creamed corn.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

US Navy Captures Pirates of Somalia Coast

In November I wrote of the growing problem of piracy off the coast of Somalia. So far 23 vessels have been captured by pirates, their crew ransomed and the funds possibly financing Al-Qeada. The situation had become so bad the UN famine relief effort had to discontinue food shipments by sea and revert to much more costly and inefficient overland routes.

The current emergency is complicated by some 14 years of fighting between warlords and chronic insecurity in much of the Horn of Africa country.

Continued conflict and piracy on the coast have prevented delivery of humanitarian food shipments to Somali ports while rival militia controlling roads and checkpoints demand payment for safe passage.

Finally, as is often the case, the US has come to deal with the problem. Last time I checked the US was not the only nation with a navy, but someone has to be the grown up so we have sent ships to secure the shipping lanes near the Horn of Africa.

U.S. Navy vessels pursued a suspected pirate ship in the Indian Ocean off Somalia's coast and fired warning shots to capture its crew on Saturday, U.S. Navy Forces Central Command said.

The guided missile destroyer Winston S. Churchill and other U.S. naval forces located the vessel after receiving a report of an attempted act of piracy, but it failed to respond to orders to stop.

"Churchill began aggressive maneuvering in an attempt to stop the vessel. The vessel continued on its course and speed. (Then) Churchill fired warning shots," said a Navy statement.

"(Later) Churchill fired additional warning shots, and at that time the crew of the suspect pirate vessel established communications by radio and indicated that they would begin sending personnel to the Churchill via their small boat in tow."

The crewmembers were seized and U.S. Navy sailors who boarded the vessel discovered small-arms weapons on board, the statement said. It did not say how many suspects were held.

I wonder if this will be made an example of American Imperialism by the likes of William Blum, author of Osama's most recent book review "Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower". R. Blum who's book inspires many of the tinfoil hat crowd teaching on American collage campus' has experienced a windfall in the wake of Osama's endorsement of his work.

"I was not turned off by such an endorsement," he informed a New York radio station. "I'm not repulsed, and I'm not going to pretend I am." He patiently reiterated the thesis of his foreign-policy critique - that American interventions abroad create enemies.

So according to Blum this intervention will only increase the enemies of the US. Makes me wonder how many friends we would win if we just let the people of East Africa starve because of the pirates.


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Naomi Wolf, Feminist has Vision of Jesus

Naomi Wolf, one of feminism's most well know authors next to Germaine Greer has revealed she has had a vision of Jesus. Raised a San Francisco liberal Jew this is not what one would expect, but shouldn't discount either.

Today, Wolf seems sharp and incisive . This is no Valley Girl on some psychobabble trip. But when one of the foremost feminists in the world, who is Jewish to boot, says she has met Jesus, the ultimate figure of Christianity and the redeemer of lost souls, it's more than a little disconcerting.

She describes this mystical experience – which happened "a few years ago" – as terrifying, inexplicable and "completely not the appropriate spiritual experience of someone of my background".

Too right. According to Judaism, Jesus is not God made flesh, or a Messianic vision. In a profane world, for anyone of Wolf's publicly acknowledged intellect to confess to achieving spiritual fulfilment through Jesus is to invite mockery. In her native America, where interfaith rivalry informs all politics, it is a highly volatile admission. Typically of a writer who has spent a lifetime self-dramatising her experiences, Wolf's epiphany seems to have been of Damascene proportions.

"I was completely dumbfounded but I actually had this vision of … of Jesus, and I'm sure it was Jesus." Anticipating a raised eyebrow, she adds quickly: "But it wasn't this crazy theological thing; it was just this figure who was the most perfected human being – full of light and full of love. And completely accessible. Any of us could be like that. There was light coming out of him holographically, simply because he was unclouded. But any of us could become that as human beings."

God is perfectly capable of reaching anyone in any way He chooses, I'm not going to address her vision or what she says about it. There are questions I'd like to ask, but until the opportunity presents itself I'll have to wait in silence.

She has a tough row to hoe at this point. The crowd she has been part of is as dogmatic about their beliefs as any religion and arguably more intolerant of any deviance from the path. She should talk with David Horowitz about his experience in this department. He has written in Radical Son and Left Illusions how the left is quick to disown any who step from the path. She is already being accused of being a feminist lightweight.

All that probably won't matter to her much, Jesus has a way of outshining the accolades of this world. I'll certainly keep her in my prayers.

This is my last Showcase Carnival submission, this blog will be 3 months old next week!

Project Hero

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

Our hero this week is PFC Jeremy Church, Silver Star

Friday, January 20, 2006

Pregnant Girls Can Now IM for Abortion Counseling

My wife tells me if she had known the truth about abortion she would never had one. The pro abortion folks call it choice, but an informed choice is not what they offer. That is what Care Net is about.

Care Net consultants take over 10,000 calls, e-mails a month

Care Net, an organization that provides help to people facing unplanned pregnancies, is taking full advantage of Internet technology, now offering an instant messaging, or IM, option along with the thousands of e-mails and phone calls it responds to each month.

The organization's LifeDonor program specifically helps to generate Internet advertising that directs people needing help to counselors.

According to a statement from Care Net, in the last six months its Option Line Call Center and website have handled more than 10,000 calls and e-mails per month. Ministry officials at Care Net are planning to receive double the number of calls compared to the prior year. According to the most recent statistics available, December 2005 was a new record month for the call center, fielding over 13,262 calls and e-mails for the month.

"Our ability to stop abortion was substantially increased when we started our LifeDonor Network. The faithful support Care Net receives via our LifeDonor monthly supporters is a huge factor enabling us to reach more women in need each day," Matthew Waters, Care Net's vice president of public education and development, said.

Care Net is a worthy organization, check it out.

I'll ask my wife to blog her story so others can understand the decades of struggle she had coming to terms with the reality of abortion. In the meantime read this:

Rape Victim Shares Story Of Hope

Kate Looby from Planned Parenthood says,"When a woman is a victim of a horrible crime, or sexual assault and presents at an emergency room, or hospital, that she would be told of the existence of a medication that can prevent a pregnancy resulting from the rape."

If the bill passes, all hospitals in South Dakota would be required to tell rape victims about the availability of emergency contraception. But not everyone agrees with this legislation. Some say it comes down to the debate over when life begins.

One KELOLAND woman who was raped was forced to make a decision that would change her life forever.

Megan Barnett was 19 years old when she made a trip to Sioux Falls for the fourth of July weekend in 2004. But the weekend celebration didn't last. She was raped and the next morning went to the emergency room in Sioux Falls.

There, she was told about emergency contraception. "Plan-B," known as the morning after pill. While she's not comfortable talking about the details of what happened that night, she is willing to share her story of life.

Little nine month oldMaria is here today because her mother refused to take a pill that could've prevented her pregnancy from happening.

Megan Barnett says, "In not taking it, it just tipped my life upside down, but I'm really thankful that I didn't because she's such a blessing. I'm really thankful that I made the choice I did."

She says she decided not to take the morning after pill because of her beliefs... And she didn't want to question her decision forever.

Barnett says, "I don't want to be living my life thinking what if, what if. What if I had terminated that pregnancy."

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Comments Turned Off at Washington Post Blog

Apparently the readers of the Washington Post can't handle the truth. They've been fed a party line so long they feel betrayed when "their paper" criticizes the Democrats.

The Washington Post shut down one of its blogs Thursday after the newspaper's ombudsman raised the ire of readers by writing that lobbyist Jack Abramoff gave money to the Democrats as well as to Republicans.

In her Sunday column, ombudsman Deborah Howell wrote that Abramoff "had made substantial campaign contributions to both major parties," prompting a wave of nasty reader postings on post.blog.

There were so many personal attacks that the newspaper's staff could not "keep the board clean, there was some pretty filthy stuff," and so the Post shut down comments on the blog, or Web log, said Jim Brady, executive editor of washingtonpost.com.

Emphasis mine

Dissent in the blue states is not nice, reasoned or tolerant. Following is from the post.blog on the subject.

As of 4:15 p.m. ET today, we have shut off comments on this blog indefinitely.

At its inception, the purpose of this blog was to open a dialogue about this site, the events of the day, the journalism of The Washington Post Company and other related issues. Among the things that we knew would be part of that discussion would be the news and opinion coming from the pages of The Washington Post and washingtonpost.com. We knew a lot of that discussion would be critical in nature. And we were fine with that. Great journalism companies need feedback from readers to stay sharp

But there are things that we said we would not allow, including personal attacks, the use of profanity and hate speech. Because a significant number of folks who have posted in this blog have refused to follow any of those relatively simple rules, we've decided not to allow comments for the time being. It's a shame that it's come to this. Transparency and reasoned debate are crucial parts of the Web culture, and it's a disappointment to us that we have not been able to maintain a civil conversation, especially about issues that people feel strongly (and differently) about.

We removed hundreds of these posts over the past few days, and it was becoming a significant burden on us to try and keep the comments area free of profanity and name-calling

It couldn't be possible there are too many kooks on the left? This is the reason the Dems looked so bad at the Alito hearings, there are no reasonable people left, they want to through out Senator Joe Lieberman because he is not consumed with hatred for the Republicans.

Witness the imploding of the American left.

WaPo Lies has the deleted commentsH/T Koconut Pundits

Basil's has links

others on this subject:

A Scrivener's Lament is lamenting the Post's decision calling their reasons LIES!
The Lone Elm says "Welcome to the real world" WaPo
Barking Moonbat Early Warning System calls them Liberal Jerks
The Coalition of the Swilling figures Their SPAM Filters Weren't Working
Blogma asks Can newspapers handle the truth?

Collage Professor Rails Against American Empire

There are several ways to make a living espousing nonsense. One is to run for office, another is to become a collage professor. Following are excerpts from an opinion piece from The Ithacan, a collage newspaper in NY.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the American empire has launched yet another crusade, kidnapping, jailing, torturing and assassinating "terror suspects" in order to spread peace, justice and democracy throughout the world. In Iraq, approximately 100,000 citizens and more than 2,100 American soldiers have died, thus far, in this campaign to prove that the American empire speaks not just for all humanity, but indeed for the divine.

In order to fight this war, say Mr. Bush and friends, phones must be tapped, mail opened, e-mails read, anti-war activists spied upon, bogus arrests made, phony trials held, innocent people jailed, people's lives ruined. In short, if one is to believe the Bush administration, we the people must accept the idea that Big Brother knows what is best for all of us. After all, no one knows more about terror than those who have worked to overthrow legitimate governments, prop up dictators, assassinate popular leaders, invade other countries and train, supply and support death squads.

It does appear that people here and abroad are beginning to question the legitimacy, even the sanity, of the empire's arrogant, dictatorial, homicidal logic. One thing is clear: The empire will continue to launch wars, invade sovereign nations and commit human rights abuses until ordinary people summon the courage to say, "Not in our name."

Fred wilcox is an associate professor in the writing department. E-mail him at fwilcox@ithaca.edu.

The obvious questions here are:

If he actually believes this stuff is an accurate description of the US, than why is he living here?

If all he says about the government's tyranny is true, why is he still walking around free?

Would anyone except a complete moon bat want this nitwit teaching their child?

Could he possibly be gainfully employed doing anything else?

Now I have no problem with an educational institution hiring anyone they choose. I just wouldn't spend my tuition to attend a class taught by someone like this. While a collage education can be helpful, a head full of nonsense won't get a person far...except if they teach in collage.

Basil's again
Carnival of the Trackbacks XLVII

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Lobby Reform Act

Well congress is back and the crazy season is in full swing. First up is the CYA bill otherwise known as the Lobby Reform Act, unless you're a Democrat, then you call it the Democratic Honest Leadership and Open Government Act. Anyone who watches this farce knows that any bill with the word reform in it will serve only to make following the money more complicated. About all these two acts offer right now is rhetoric. Once they get down to the business of debating and writing the law it will become a 600+ page of incomprehensible gibberish with Mac truck sized loopholes. The only good that will come of it is the congress will be too busy with trying to one up each other that they won't have time to find new ways to pick our pockets.

The problem of the influence of money in politics will not go away. Politicians are the same now as they ever have been. People drawn to power need wealth to gain power. To manage this reality we should limit the source of that wealth to only those governed directly by the person holding the power. In other words, campaign contributions should only be made by a registered voter to the candidates running for office in that voter's jurisdiction. If I can vote for him I can give to him. More importantly the politician can't get money from any entity that can't vote for him. No corporate, PAC, labor union, or foreign donations.

Then get rid of the restrictions on the amounts one can give just so long as the names of those who give and the amounts given are published daily. With the Internet it should be easy to do. Then we know who owes who what. Knowing that we can at least know what to expect once they take office. After all Will Rogers was fairly accurate when he said "An honest politician is one who stays bought."

mcq at QandO likes the Dem plan and has a good analisys I agree with, but I still think the devil's in the details.

Basil's picnic
Virginia Blog carnival at Haduken.com

Winchester To Close New Haven, CT Facility

My favorite rifle when I was young was the Winchester model 94 in .30-30. It was given to me by my father who had received it from my grandfather. Granddad, trained as a machinist took piano keys and used the ivory to do inlay on the stock. Although it has a round barrel it was still made with the saddle ring on the receiver I added a Winchester made 1917 .30-06 bolt action rifle that I just loved shooting. You can imagine my disappointment when I read this:

U.S. Repeating Arms Co. Inc. said Tuesday that it will close its Winchester firearm factory in New Haven, Conn., threatening the future of a rifle that once was called "The Gun that Won the West." The announcement touched off a lobbying effort by city officials and union leaders who hoped to find a buyer for the plant before it closes March 31. If no buyer comes forward, it could spell the end for nearly all commercially produced Winchesters, said Everett Corey, a representative of the International Association of Machinists District 26. "Winchester would be pretty much defunct," he said. "They're not going to produce them, other than a couple custom-type models." The company has been plagued by slumping firearm sales. More than 19,000 people worked there during World War II, but the plant employs fewer than 200 now.

Here is the company press release:

U.S. Repeating Arms Company To Close New Haven, CT Facility

U.S. Repeating Arms Company, maker of Winchester brand rifles and shotguns will close its New Haven, Connecticut manufacturing facility. Many efforts were made to improve profitability at the manufacturing facility in New Haven, and the decision was made after exhausting all available options.

Effective March 31, 2006 the New Haven manufacturing facility will stop manufacturing the Winchester Model 70, Model 94 and Model 1300.

Winchester Firearms will continue to sell and grow its current line of Select Over & Under shotguns, the new Super X3 autoloading shotgun, the new Super X autoloading rifle and Limited Edition rifles. The company also plans to introduce new models in the future. There will be no change in Customer Service.

This action is a realignment of resources to make Winchester Firearms a stronger, more viable organization. Winchester Firearms plans to continue the great Winchester legacy and is very excited about the future.

Fortunately, last year I bought my wife a Model 94 trapper in .44 mag. It has a saddle ring and comes with the 16 in. Barrel. She adores the gun and is looking forward to getting the scabbard to mount on her saddle. Perhaps someone will buy the plant, but from looking at the company's financial sheet it doesn't seem likely.

Carnival of Cordite #44 is up at Resistance is futile!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Selah in Concert

Saturday my wife and I went to Front Royal, VA for a concert by the group Selah at the New Hope Bible Church. The church sat about 300 making the venue quite intimate. It made for a very enjoyable time and I liked the pastor being the MC. The concert was opened and closed with a prayer, something I miss at the big concerts.

There were no other performers which gave Selah plenty of opportunity to do as they wished. Their latest release is titled "Greatest Hymns". The group started as worship leaders for a local church and was encouraged to record and perform. Having a background in singing the old hymns it was natural to do this CD. Included on the CD and in the concert are some hymns in an African language. Two of the original members grew up as missionary children in Congo. For the first African song they brought on stage the Pastor and his wife and other people involved in getting the group there to perform and got them to sing also. The second African song had all the children in attendance on stage to sing along.

The two male singers each did a solo session where they talked about their life and the influence the old hymns have had on them. Although I really enjoy the new music produced in the contemporary Christian category I have a great love for the old hymns many of which are filled with scriptural truth. The members of Selah share the same sentiment and perform them in a powerful way.

I'm adding Selah to my list of must see groups which includes Mercyme, Third Day and Mark Schultz. A sample of Selah's music can be heard at their website.

Christian Carnival CV

Ray Nagin Talks to Willie Wonka

Now that God got Mayor Nagin in trouble he's consulted with Willie Wonka to get the recipe right for a chocolate city.

"It's time for us to rebuild New Orleans, the one that should be a chocolate New Orleans, and I don't care what people are saying uptown wherever they are, this city will be chocolate at the end of the day. This city will be a majority African-American city -- it's the way God wants it to be."

Later in the day, the mayor seemed to be back-pedaling, as he said, "Do you know anything about chocolate? How do you make chocolate? You take dark chocolate, you mix it with white milk and it becomes a delicious drink."

He hasn't revealed as to the possibility of there being a place for the oompa loompa community in the new New Orleans.

25 Jan 06 A creator of Nagin T-shirts said he has received orders from as far away as Malaysia and Norway, according to a report.

"We all heard the speech and jaws hit the floor and we said, 'No he did not say that,'" a T-shirt creator said in the Local 6 News report. "The mayor unfortunately did (say that) and we said what can we do?"

The company also sells Nagin hats and bumper stickers with the "Willy Nagin and the Chocolate Factory" slogan.

A company representative said they have sold about 3,000 shirts in the first two weeks of offering the product.

You had to know that was coming.
Basil's is the place to be