Friday, December 23, 2005

Andrew Sarris on Spielberg's Munich

Andrew Sarris at the New York Observer is one of the few critics who has real criticisms of Spielberg's latest film:
Mr. Spielberg, Mr. Kushner and Mr. Roth have chosen to show all the doubts and hesitations over the use of terror on the Israeli side, but what of the Palestinian side? Are there any doubts and hesitations there? Mr. Spielberg and company don’t say. They have been deservedly praised for not demonizing the Palestinians and for not exulting mindlessly in the revenge of the Israelis. But is this a sufficient statement about the impasse between Israel and the Palestinians that persists to this day? Mr. Spielberg and company are clearly opposed to violence in the affairs of men and of nations—yet I’m reminded of George Orwell’s famous essay on Ghandi and his call for nonviolence to liberate India from British rule. Orwell noted that Ghandi relied on an outburst of outraged world opinion to assist him. That was all very well, Orwell argued, with a comparatively mild colonial power like Britain. But what if Ghandi had tried the same tactic in Josef Stalin’s Soviet Union? He would have been silenced in a Siberian gulag in no time flat.

NORAD Santa Tracking System

From the NORAD site:
It all starts with the NORAD radar system called the North Warning System. This powerful radar system has 47 installations strung across Canada's North and Alaska. NORAD makes a point of checking the radar closely for indications of Santa Claus leaving the North Pole on Christmas Eve.

The moment our radar tells us that Santa has lifted off, we begin to use the same satellites that we use in providing warning of possible missile launches aimed at North America. These satellites are located in a geo-synchronous orbit (that's a cool phrase meaning that the satellite is always fixed over the same spot on the Earth) at 22,300 miles above the Earth. The satellites have infrared sensors, meaning they can see heat. When a rocket or missile is launched, a tremendous amount of heat is produced - enough for the satellites to see them. Rudolph's nose gives off an infrared signature similar to a missile launch. The satellites can detect Rudolph's bright red nose with practically no problem. With so many years of experience, NORAD has become good at tracking aircraft entering North America, detecting worldwide missile launches and tracking the progress of Santa, thanks to Rudolph.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

UCLA Study: Media Bias Is Real and Objectively Measurable

"I suspected that many media outlets would tilt to the left because surveys have shown that reporters tend to vote more Democrat than Republican," said Tim Groseclose, a UCLA political scientist and the study's lead author. "But I was surprised at just how pronounced the distinctions are."

"Overall, the major media outlets are quite moderate compared to members of Congress, but even so, there is a quantifiable and significant bias in that nearly all of them lean to the left," said co‑author Jeffrey Milyo, University of Missouri economist and public policy scholar.

More 'wow'

Robert Stokely, father of SGT Michael "Mike" James Stokely, writes a tribute to his son:
We miss him so much. We hurt inside. But we burst with pride in our son and brother. His memory will not fade nor will our love for him. When Mike was just becoming a teenager, I tried to imagine what he would be one day. I often told people I wasn't sure where life would take him, but I knew he would do something different and be very well known in his chosen field. I never dreamed he would become an American Hero who would serve his country so well.
Hanky discretion advised.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Nuke Death Toll: 1.6 Million


Cham Dallas, director of the federally funded Center for Mass Destruction Defense, discussed his conclusions at a Nov. 10 closed hearing of a congressional panel. He showed lawmakers data predicting 1.6 million New Yorkers could be killed, maimed, burned or sickened if a 20-kiloton nuke exploded at Broadway and Warren Street downtown.


Wow. Just... wow.


Sunday, December 18, 2005

Kudos to the President

Excellent speech by the President tonight.

I've been wondering whether the previous silence on Iraq by the White House was part of a "rope a dope" strategy by the White House. I don't know if it was, but we're beginning to see a counteroffensive by the White House now that the Dems have unleashed their attack.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Did President Bush Violate the Law?

The Bush Administration has come under fire for clandestinely monitoring certain electronic communications without a warrant. Under 18 U.S.C. 2511, clandestine interception of domestic electronic communications by federal agencies without a warrant is prohibited. Section (f) of that chapter, however, reads as follows:

(f) Nothing contained in this chapter or chapter 121 or 206 of this title, or section 705 of the Communications Act of 1934, shall be deemed to affect the acquisition by the United States Government of foreign intelligence information from international or foreign communications, or foreign intelligence activities conducted in accordance with otherwise applicable Federal law involving a foreign electronic communications system, utilizing a means other than electronic surveillance as defined in section 101 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, and procedures in this chapter or chapter 121 and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 shall be the exclusive means by which electronic surveillance, as defined in section 101 of such Act, and the interception of domestic wire, oral, and electronic communications may be conducted.

By my reading of that language, it appears that this statute, at least, does not prohibit clandestine extrajudicial interception of international communications relating to foreign intelligence information. Accordingly, if the Bush administration's clandestine interception of communications has been limited to international communications relating to foreign intelligence information, this statute would appear not to prohibit such interceptions. At this point, it's too early to tell whether the interceptions have been so limited.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Iraq Election: Saddam Won 100% of the Vote!!


BAGHDAD, Wednesday, 16 October, 2002, 11:41 GMT 12:41 UK

Iraqi officials say President Saddam Hussein has won 100% backing in a referendum on whether he should rule for another seven years.

There were 11,445,638 eligible voters - and every one of them voted for the president, according to Izzat Ibrahim, Vice-Chairman of Iraq's Revolutionary Command Council.

The government insists the count was fair and accurate.


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Sydney update: Australian Churches Targeted by Fire and Bullets

Things keep getting crazier down under:
FOUR churches in Sydney's southwest have been attacked in 24 hours as the city's riots spread from race to religion.

A community hall linked to a Uniting church was burned to the ground early yesterday, carol-singers were spat on and church buildings peppered with gunfire.

In response, members of the Arab Christian and Arab Muslim communities have called for a curfew for all Lebanese youths over the weekend.

Police believe the attack on the hall, in the suburb of Auburn, was intended to destroy the Uniting church next door, while nearby StThomas's Anglican Church, which has a primarily Chinese congregation, had all its front windows smashed. Three of the attacks were on churches within minutes of each other. The night before, Molotov cocktails were used in an attack on an Anglican church in Macquarie Fields in the city's far southwest.
I'm beginning to doubt that these are simply random acts of violence by a few "fringe youths." I find it difficult to believe that the immigrant parents are completely unable to control their children. On the other hand, I can only guess at what purpose these attacks might serve...

Halliburton Controls My Brain!

Hella good:
I was defending freedom at drill this weekend, and after a hooah PT session on Sunday morning, I grabbed a cadet out of the armory and went to the local Hardees for breakfast. Now we all know what a repressive, right-wing nazi opinion stifling gulag an empty hardees is at 0700 on a Sunday, so I sat, and quietly ate my breakfast with the cadet, both in uniform, minding our own business, and certainly not grinding the oppressed people in the world under our collective jackboot. Enter Old-Hippie-Guy. This scraggly looking holdover from the McGovern era approached our table unprovoked, and stated "Gentleman, the September 11th attacks were avenged by the deaths of thousands of children, I hope you sleep well at night." With that, giving us little time, through our amazement, he spun around and lurched out of the doorway, leaving the cadet and I to consider the following options...

Racism vs. Culturalism

The riots in Sydney have been generally tagged as "race" riots.

I wonder, though, if that's really an accurate tag for what's going on.

Certainly there still remains, even in this fifth year of the new millennium, a certain amount of racism among all races and groups.

Certainly there's no excuse for mob violence, which mostly serves to discredit the sentiments of the rioters, whether they're valid or not. The rioters would do a lot more for their cause if they'd get involved in politics and get some level-headed people elected.

But I'm not sure that the rioting is coming out of a racial issue as much as a cultural issue. Muslims in general, and Arab Muslims in particular have earned a reputation for "not playing well with others." Culturally, many seem to be almost devoid of the basic personal humility necessary for one to respect the opinions and ideas of others within a pluralistic society. Many are seen to be imbued with arrogance a sense of entitlement. At least a significant portion of the Arab youths in question appear to hold the opinion that a woman of any culture is "theirs for the taking" if she fails to conform to Middle Eastern ideas of dress and comportment. These are all cultural issues which are largely coincident with, but not caused by, the racial makeup of the Arabs.

Assuming that the white Aussies are upset with the Lebs over their distinct culture rather than their distinct appearance, is that any better, from a moral standpoint? I submit to you that it is vastly better, on a number of fronts. First, even if a person were to believe that there was such a thing as an "inferior race" or a "bad race", we have an understandable ethical problem with condemning someone for a fact over which they have absolutely no control. In contrast, a person can change his culture. And in contrast to the old-fashioned ideas of superior and inferior races, I submit to you that there are demonstrably "superior cultures" and "inferior cultures". Whether or not a culture respects the "golden rule" (or some variant thereof) says a lot about the quality of that culture, IMHO. Cultures which refuse to acknowledge the role of free will, personal choice and mutual respect between individuals are cultures of the past, which we should seek at every turn to eliminate.

Don't get me wrong. I don't advocate that we seek to eliminate the inferior cultures by eliminating the adherents of those cultures. To do so would violate our own principles and make us no better than them. I do advocate that we take pride in our own culture and that we vigorously challenge the old cultures. I do advocate that we establish the rule that the basic precepts of our culture will be respected within our own territory. I do advocate that we shine the bright light of truth on the cultural neanderthals. At the same time, any commie lib academic who asserts the equivalency of a foreign culture yet has not lived under that culture should rightly be ridiculed. If you can't bring yourself to respect the superiority of the basic precepts of western liberal democracy, then please take yourself somewhere else.

Western society has created the freest, wealthiest and most open societies mankind has ever known. That's not something to apologize for. It's something to vigorously and unabashedly defend.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

More on Cory Maye

from The Volokh Conspiracy:
The remarkable part of the case is that it seems pretty likely that Maye was acting in self-defense. The police broke into Maye's apartment at night while executing a warrant for drugs, but apparently they had the wrong apartment. Specifically, the police didn't realize that the apartment had been divided into two units, and — at least according to blog reports — Maye was in one and the drugs were in the other.
More over at The Agitator.com:
I'll have much, much more on this soon. There's quite a bit more evidence in Maye's favor we haven't discussed yet. But I have a few other things I need to take care of first.

In the meantime, keep up the buzz. Evans said he'll tell Maye the next time he sees him that there's some support building for his case.

Aussies: Racism is Repulsive, but so is Self-Loathing

A different opinion on the need for more multiculturalism in Australia:

YESTERDAY a colleague emailed me from New York. The young lawyer - her family lives in Brighton-Le-Sands, a bayside suburb north of Cronulla in Sydney - wrote: "While I agree there is no justifying excuse for the violence and breakdown in order that occurred at Cronulla, it needs to be put in context. Unless you live in an area like Cronulla, Brighton-Le-Sands or Bondi, you have no idea what it is like to have one's suburb regularly inundated with large groups of young Muslim men from the western suburbs who proceed to shoot people [as has happened in Brighton], intimidate people, regularly threaten people within their vicinity with violence, drive around in large groups screaming abuse at people from cars with their music blaring, regularly brawling, etc."

This young woman recounted that all of the girls in her family (except the youngest) have been "subject to harassment inflicted by groups of these men - comments on our appearances, racist comments on our Australian background, unwanted touching, being followed while walking home by groups of men in cars (I was once followed all the way home - have never been so scared in my life), sexually explicit remarks while alone, with friends or with boyfriends, unwanted called-out invitations to have sex with groups of them, etc".

Someone please tell Bob Brown. If ever you needed confirmation that the Greens senator is a disconnected, fringe politician who needs to spend time in Cronulla, it came yesterday when he blamed the appalling violence in Sydney's southern shire on John Howard for having "mired the issue of racism in Australia".

Suggesting that the nation is swamped by racists, that ordinary Australians need some fine moral instruction from the likes of Brown, is just the latest adaptation of the David Williamson school of thought that treats ordinary Australians with disdain. It's a form of elitist self-loathing that gets us nowhere in explaining why thousands of people descended on to the streets of Cronulla in apparent retaliation against the attack on two surf lifesavers by men of Middle Eastern descent.


Aussie Beach Battles: Is More Multiculturalism the Answer?

James Jupp is convinced it is:

There will not be social harmony as long as many Australians go on thinking that only those of a particular descent or culture are real Australians. Multiculturalism will not work until it is placed back in the centre of national policy rather than being left to the states and territories, as it largely has been since 1996. It will not work unless public and private funds support ongoing research into real-life situations on the ground in areas of actual or potential conflict.

Hmmm... so far, I'm not convinced.

The Australian: Racism Not Endemic

There is no doubting that some members of the Lebanese community who have arrived here in the past 30 years have never adjusted to the Australian way of life. And sadly, it seems some of their sons, native Australians, have been brought up to believe being male entitles them to unearned respect from all others, especially women. These riots were clashes that appear to be based in culture, rather than race or religion. None of this excuses, but may explain, some of the context of the Cronulla riot, and Monday night's counter-attack when gangs of Middle Eastern youths swarmed across seaside Sydney attacking property – and people, if they got a chance. These were are all appalling affrays, insults to Australia's well-earned reputation as a safe haven for people from all over the world. But they do not demonstrate Australia to be burdened by race hatred or led by politicians who pander to prejudice.

Gerald Ford is still alive

Who knew?

Herald Sun on the Aussie Beach Battles

THEY are blonde, tanned and wearing designer surfie labels, and they claim the beach as their own. Sarah, 20, and Melanie, 22, despise the Lebanese Australian community and are happy to say so.
They drove from nearby Engadine to wave the Australian flag at North Cronulla and make a statement against the Lebanese community.
"This is our beach and we're here to claim it back," Melanie said.
"You can't go to the beach without the Lebs yelling stuff out.
"Because of that we've come here to take it back."
Both young women say they will answer a text-message call to rally at Cronulla on Sunday and intimidate any Australians of Lebanese descent who dare to show up.

Reaching Across the Aisle in the Bible Belt

This should be interesting to watch. An avowed atheist (and Anti-Zionist) is running to be the Democrat Party's nominee for Attorney General of Alabama.

Being one of only four known Democrat Party members remaining in the State of Alabama, he's considered a shoo-in for the nomination.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Aussie Riots "A Long Time in The Making"

This article is a decent run-down on the high points, without providing any actual facts.

This is a decent opinion piece on the riots:

Many of my friends claim that all they see from the Islamic community are their youths, wearing baseball caps, loitering and trying to force themselves onto young girls with promises of "good times." The most dangerous point they make to me is that every time they see a Lebanese teenager they think "rapist."

In 2002 Miranda Devine of the Sydney Morning Herald wrote:

"Yes, it is unfair that the vast bulk of law-abiding Lebanese Muslim boys and men should be smeared by association. But their temporary discomfort may be necessary so that the powerful social tool of shame is applied to the families and communities that nurtured the rapists, gave them succour and brought them up with such a hatred of Australia's dominant culture and contempt for its women that they think of an 18-year-old girl, dressed for a job interview in her best suit, sitting on a train reading a book, as a slut."

This quote relates to a number of cases of Lebanese youths gang-raping young, white girls. The Australian media have airbrushed racial references from their reporting. My friends also believe that being Muslim means that you cannot keep your hands to yourself, though, very simplistically, I cannot agree or disagree with that seemingly racist statement. At first I felt quite disgusted with myself for not disagreeing with it. . . .

"I looked in his eyes. I had never seen such indifference," one 18-year-old victim, codenamed Miss C, told the court, remembering one of the 14 men who called her "Aussie pig," gang-raped her 25 times over a six-hour period in Bankstown and Chullora and then turned a hose on her. "I'm going to f*** you Leb style," he said.

You read many quotes like this in the media, you close your eyes, take a deep breath, and you realize that, although Australia may have come a long way from the "White Australia" policy, we have a long way to go yet. The Arab community has once again played the eternal victim, with Arab Council chairman Roland Jabbour saying that the had AAC foreseen yesterday's events for some time.


What's Going on in Australia??

What am I supposed to make of the Aussie riots going on right now? For that matter, what was I supposed to make of the French riots of just a few weeks ago?

I'll wager that I spend more effort keeping myself informed than 90% of the rest of the American population. Maybe 95%. I've read an awful lot of news articles, opinion pieces and blogs on the French riots. Even now, I don't know if the riots represented the actions of young out-of-control muslim jihadists whipped up into a religious frenzy or a bunch of angry underpriviliged kids of no particular ethnic or religious makeup fed up with a lack of economic opportunity. Given the politically-correct nature of modern journalism, I find it incredibly difficult to believe that Reuters and AP would write stories referencing "muslim riots" if the rioters were not, in fact, muslims. Assuming some of the rioters were muslims, does that mean that 51% were muslim? That 99% were muslim? How many muslims need to engage in the rioting in order for it to become a "muslim riot"? I suspect the number is closer to the 99% figure than the 51% figure, but the factual reporting on this issue was so miserable that it's difficult to know. Same with the reporting as to the rioters' motivations. The fact that the rioters were muslims is only relevant to the extent that islam is a factor in the rioting. Again, I suspect that this is the case, but the complete lack of insight provided by our media outlets leaves me scratching my head.

Now we find ourselves with what have become known as "race riots" in Australia. What makes them "race riots", exactly? Are they "race riots" because one ethnically-identifiable group is squared off against a different ethnically-identifiable group? Fair enough. No doubt folks are being targeted by both sides based at least partly on their appearance. But is that all it takes to make a "race riot"? When I think of a classic "race riot", I'm thinking of an army of skinheads rampaging through an immigrant neighborhood tearing the place apart because they hate all the darker-skinned folks.

I'm not convinced that's what's going on in Australia. I think there are a lot of predominantly white Australian locals who are seeing certain changes taking place around them. I don't think they're comfortable with all the changes they're seeing. I think they're seeing a new ethnic group (the Lebanese) moving in and bringing with them a different set of cultural ideas, many of which clash with the prevailing customs of the local area. I think they've grown increasingly uncomfortable with time, setting up a cultural tinderbox.

Whether the Aussie locals are right or wrong to be upset with the change depends entirely on the quality of the prevailing culture. For all I konw, the existing Aussie beach culture could be a culture of violence, theft and wanton rape, while the immigrant culture is a culture of peace, love and mutual respect. If this is the case, I'm all with the Lebanese moving in to clean up the violent beach culture.

From the reporting so far, however, I have few real facts to go on, so I can only go with my hunches. My hunch is that the Australians on the beach are generally "Aussies". By this, I mean I imagine they're mostly the fun-loving, "live and let live" types you generally see in Outback Steakhouse commercials, prone to playing beach games and throwing shrimps on the barbie. The type of folks who settle a disagreement with a coin toss over a can of Foster's. That's not particularly tough to imagine. By the same token, it's not hard to image that the Lebanese immigrants are generally "Lebanese". By this, I mean they're likely at least closely related to the same folks who turned Beirut from "the Paris of Lebanon" into... well, into Beirut. The type of folks to settle minor disagreements with AK-47s and RPGs. I could be wrong. Maybe this is a conflict between a bunch of hot-headed militant Australian surfers and a handful of good-natured, laid-back Druze militiamen. Somehow, though, I kinda doubt it.

Was Kelo Rightly Decided?

The Kelo decision has generated a lot of outrage. For those of you who have been living in a cave, the Supreme Court decided in Kelo v. New London that a municipality may employ its eminent domain power to transfer property from one private landowner to another, so long as just compensation is paid to the transferor. Americans of all stripes have expressed indignation at this decision, cited as an example of "judicial activism" and of "imperious courts gone awry." Lost in all the fire and brimstone is a reasoned discussion as to whether the United States Constitution does, in fact, place any limits on what property can be acquired under the eminent domain power and for what purpose. Upon my reading of the Fifth Amendment takings clause, it seems that a strict constructionist would be forced to concede that the clause doesn't explicitly place any such limits on the eminent domain power.

The Fifth Amendment reads in relevant part as follows:

...nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

This amendment does not read "nor shall private property be taken for non-public use" or "nor shall private property be taken except for public use". If the amendment did place explicit limits on the purposes for which property could be taken, the Kelo case would have been decided against the plain language of the Constitution. There have certainly been times when courts have decided cases in such a manner as to construe rights more broadly than the literal text would indicate. The "right to privacy" is such an example. Legal commentators of many political persuasions have often criticized the courts for "creating" rights which are not found in the text of the Constitution. Many of these critics, and probably the majority, hail from the right end of the political spectrum, which generally advocates a "strict construction" of the language of the Constitution.

In this case, the courts declined to find a "public purpose" limitation in the Fifth Amendment takings clause. It would seem inescapable that there is no such limitation in the text of the clause. In order to find such a limitation, a court would have to infer it, or loosely construe the language of the Constitution. Whatever you believe in as regards Constitutional interpretation, you should at least believe in consistency. If you are in favor of "strict construction", you should be in favor of it consistently. If, on the other hand, you are in favor of "loose construction" and inferred rights, you should be in favor of that consistently. You should not change your method of constitutional interpretation depending on whether or not you are personally in favor of the right being adjudicated. I might best be described as an adherent of "moderate construction".

I'd personally be in favor of a longer and more libertarian constitution. The brevity of our present Constitution would make it much less libertarian if it were strictly construed. Its explicit text places very few limits on the powers of states and localities. It is primarily through court interpretation that the governmental limitations of the U.S. Constitution have been applied to states and localities. The Constitution protects the rights of both "speech" and the "press," but most communication today is conducted by neither. Only by court interpretation have electronic media and non-verbal communication been brought into the scope of these protections. The alternative would be to amend the Constitution to explicitly provide for something like a "freedom to communicate" not tied to any particular medium. We haven't done so, and yet most Americans seem to be comfortable with constitutional protection for broadcast media, despite the lack of an explicit constitutional provision addressing it.

My point is, the Supreme Court could have found within the Fifth Amendment an extra-textual limitation on the right of eminent domain. It certainly wouldn't have been the biggest reach the Supreme Court has ever made. In this case, the Court didn't do so. By ruling in this manner, the court left the field open for the political process to operate. Far from being judicial activism, this was judicial restraint. Whether the court was right or wrong in this particular decision, the decision was an exercise of judicial humility (which is often lauded) rather than judicial hubris (which is rightly condemned). As such, whether one agrees with the Court's decision or not, I believe each of us should take note of his presumptions and core philosophies before directing too much fire at the justices who handed this decision down.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Lost Liberty Hotel Project Continues


Judge Kozinski Responds to James Buchanan


Dr. Buchanan advances a vision of government—especially the federal government—that I find attractive. There is, alas, a lingering nostalgia for the vision of the minimalist state as a purer form of government, one that advances everyone’s economic well-being while maximizing personal freedom. While I have a romantic attachment to this vision, I’m far from convinced that it would achieve the goals set for it—that we’d be living in a better world today if only we repudiated the New Deal, or had never adopted it in the first place. Whenever I try to imagine what such a world would look like, I look at the world we do live in and recognize that we don’t have it so bad at all. We have the world’s strongest economy by far; we are the only superpower, having managed to bury the Evil Empire; and we have more freedom than any other people anytime in history. We must be doing something right.


Friday, December 09, 2005

Whiskey (Pete) Tango Foxtrot??

See-Dubya over at Jawa Report shares his transcript of an interview with Spc. Jeff Englehart of the legendary "Penis Dog" Battallion:

JE: Well, we were sitting in our H2 Hummer, which is a military vehicle, and we could hear general orders come over the, you know, the “intercom” inside the Hummer jeep tank thing. And the order would come over the radio, like, “Breaker one-niner, this here’s Russell the Love Muscle, you got your ears on, we’re gonna drop ‘Word Perfect’ at such and such coordinates, come back.”

RAI: ‘Word Perfect’?

JE: See, that’s the lingo. The nomenclature. We sometimes call WP “Word Perfect”, or “Walrus Pepperoni”.

RAI: Ah. Thank you for explaining these technical terms.

JE: And they would respond with the call sign “Ten-four, good buddy, this here’s the Bandit and I’ve got Smokey on my tail and a Bear in the Air outside of Alamo City, Eighty-eights around the house.” Then you would see these helicopters start raining down ‘Winky-Pooter’, as we sometimes call it…

RAI: What kind of helicopter?

JE: That would be the, the, the big Lockheed AH-3 Mohican.

RAI: I’m not familiar with…

JE: Because it’s top secret. If you were familiar with it, you’d be dead. Anyway, the ‘Wassail Punch’ would impact and convert to this aerosol plasma that would burn through metal and skin but leave clothing untouched. It’s smart like that, like a smart plasma. Kind of like the neutron bomb, you know, which we may also have used, except with clothes instead of buildings. Lethal within eight “klucks”, as we military people say, or about a hundred and fifty meters.

Read the whole thing. And definitely don't miss the part about Yoav Epstein.


A Real Travesty

The Hollywood elites are all up in arms at the thought that the unrepentant founder of the notorious Crips gang might be executed by the State of California. By all reasonable accounts, Tookie Williams did indeed commit the brutal murders for which he was convicted and he has never repented for any of them.

Meanwhile, a law-abiding citizen sits on death row in Mississippi for lawfully defending his home against an intruder, and Hollywood wastes no breath or ink on his cause.

If the facts of this case are accurate as presented in the linked article, this is a true travesty of justice. Although I'm not opposed to the death penalty IN THEORY, it is cases like these that leave me with no choice but to be opposed to the death penalty AS PRACTICED. Our system of meting out punishments is definitely broken. No system can be perfect, but unless and until the system is improved, I simply can't have sufficient faith in the system to endorse capital punishment.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Canadian Government to Announce National Handgun Ban


Microsoft Investing 1.7 Billion in India

That's more good news.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A Beautiful Christmas Poem

Hanky discretion advised.

A Day Which Will Live in Infamy...

There are images of Dec. 8 front pages at johnlocke.org.
There are also some audio clips over at Mike's Noise.

A Day Which Will Live in Infamy...

There are images of Dec. 8 front pages at johnlocke.org.
There are also some audio clips over at Mike's Noise.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Excellent News From India

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India's economy is likely to grow more than analysts had previously thought this fiscal year after a stronger-than-expected performance for July-September.

Three big banks have raised their growth forecasts to well above 7 percent, although they foresee a loss of momentum longer term.
Keep it up, folks!!!

The Candlemaker's Petition

Eugene Volokh over at The Volokh Conspiracy has reminded me of one of Frederic Bastiat's most famous writings:

We are suffering from the ruinous competition of a rival who apparently works under conditions so far superior to our own for the production of light that he is flooding the domestic market with it at an incredibly low price; for the moment he appears, our sales cease, all the consumers turn to him, and a branch of French industry whose ramifications are innumerable is all at once reduced to complete stagnation. This rival, which is none other than the sun, is waging war on us so mercilessly we suspect he is being stirred up against us by perfidious Albion (excellent diplomacy nowadays!), particularly because he has for that haughty island a respect that he does not show for us [1].

We ask you to be so good as to pass a law requiring the closing of all windows, dormers, skylights, inside and outside shutters, curtains, casements, bull's-eyes, deadlights, and blinds -- in short, all openings, holes, chinks, and fissures through which the light of the sun is wont to enter houses, to the detriment of the fair industries with which, we are proud to say, we have endowed the country, a country that cannot, without betraying ingratitude, abandon us today to so unequal a combat.


These People Have Way Too Much Time On Their Hands...

In this report, we apply basic scientific techniques to answer the question “Is Kansas as flat as a pancake?”

While driving across the American Midwest, it is common to hear travelers remark, “This state is as flat as a pancake.” To the authors, this adage seems to qualitatively capture some characteristic of a topographic geodetic survey 2. This obvious question “how flat is a pancake” spurned our analytical interest, and we set out to find the ‘flatness’ of both a pancake and one particular state: Kansas.


More Good News on Coffee

As if there wasn't already plenty of good news on coffee:

Coffee and tea may reduce the risk of serious liver damage in people who drink too much alcohol, are overweight or have too much iron in the blood, researchers reported yesterday.

The study of nearly 10,000 people showed that those who drank more than two cups of coffee or tea per day developed chronic liver disease at half the rate of those who drank less than one cup each day.


Thursday, December 01, 2005

On Abortion...

Personally, I don't have a particularly strong opinion on the legality of abortion. If you create a child, and you're not going to take care of that child, I'd really prefer if you put the child up for adoption to a grateful home rather than kill the child or abuse it for 18 years. Then again, I'm not sure it's my place to tell you whether you can kill your own children. I didn't have anything to do with their creation, and I'm certainly not gonna take care of them if you don't.
I do have one well-supported opinion related to abortion--namely, that the pro-choice/pro-abortion movement is the source of a constant stream of complete bullshit. In the cited article, Drew takes 'em to task for it. Whatever your opinion on abortion, it should raise big red flags whenever one side of the debate is incapable of telling the truth and discussing the issues in a rational manner without making things up.