Saturday, June 30, 2007

I hope he used sunscreen

An airman at a deployed location saw a picture of a guy marshaling a tanker in his underwear. Gomer decided he could do the guy in his underwear one better.

While white socks can be worn with boots, the pants must be bloused in a manner that conceals the socks. I think this troop might be in trouble.

I like this kid, he's got a sense of humor. Sadly, his commander probably doesn't have a sense of humor. In fact, making the boss look stupid is a surefire recipe for closed-door unpleasantness ending in a reduction in rank.

I happen to think that unit wise guy is right up there with the chaplain in importance. One of the great unit wise guys of all time was Skippy. I heartily recommend Skippy's List to anyone serving in or alongside the Army.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I just knew if I blogged enough...

Kasparov's opposition movement holds anti-Putin rally in Moscow - Los Angeles Times: "MOSCOW -- Chess champion Garry Kasparov and allies in Russia's most vocal opposition movement held their latest showdown today with President Vladimir Putin's government, keeping up their frequent protests with a demonstration in central Moscow."

This is actually the second opposition rally in a row that Putin hasn't broken up. He's on a streak.

While I don't get many hits from Moscow, I'm sure this is because President Putin is reading my blog.

Another possibility is that with his stranglehold on the media and his 81% approval rating, he's stopped caring.

But I think it's this blog that changed his mind. I used to just stand around and scream at street signs, but now that I've got a blog I know I'm making a difference.

A liberal is a conservative who's been booked...

Accused Al Qaeda operative can't be jailed indefinitely, appeals court rules - Los Angeles Times: "WASHINGTON — In a setback for the Bush administration, a federal appeals court ruled Monday that an alleged Al Qaeda operative arrested in the United States and detained in military custody for four years cannot be held as an enemy combatant."

Americans need to get off their butts and start defending their rights while they still have rights to defend.

Make no mistake, this case is going set an important precedent. Al-Marri was arrested in Illinois on credit card fraud, labeled an "enemy combatant", pulled out of the court system and thrown in the brig on Fort Brag, NC.

Al-Marri is most likely a real-live bad guy. He probably did come here with the intent to do evil. But if al-Marri can be labeled an enemy combatant, stripped of his rights and indefinitely confined without due process, then so can you.

The term habeas corpus dates back to the Magna Carta in 1215 CE. It literally means "to have the body." It is a requirement to show cause for confinement. While our Bill of Rights are amendments to the Constitution, habeas corpus is actually written into Article I. It is a basic human right.

A few words on the difference between a right and a privilege. A right is something you have and a privilege is something you're given. Privileges can be taken away and rights cannot. Freedom must not become a privilege.

The title for this entry is from a joke my dad used to tell: "You know what a liberal is? A conservative who's been booked! Know what a conservative is? A liberal who's been mugged!" The issue of perspective is worth considering. If you were wrongly accused of terrorism, how confident would you be that your liberties were protected?

As an aside, the LA Times has one of the worst "free registration" schemes I've ever seen. If they've put the article behind a log-in screen do a Google search. There's lots of content of equal or better quality out there.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

So much for my beloved stereotypes...

Cool Reception for Bible Park in Bible Belt - New York Times: "The congregation sometimes assembles here for open-air services, said the pastor, Bryan Brooks, with the trees and pastures across Route 840 for a backdrop. But that view may change, because the land beyond the road has been proposed as the site for a theme park called Bible Park USA on over 100 acres.

The proposal has ignited fierce opposition to the project. The park, which would be in Rutherford County in an area known as Blackman, would be about 35 miles southeast of Nashville."

Well I would have thought that a Bible-based theme park in the heart of the so-called Bible belt would have been a slam dunk. Blackman, TN is about 315 miles south of Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY. The Creation Museum didn't face anything like this kind of local opposition.

Reading the article, it sounds like the locals are going into this with their heads up and their eyes open. It is reassuring to me that even though the developers surrounded themselves with an air of being good Christians, the overwhelmingly Christian population of Blackman saw through the pretense. The project is facing three major hurdles: its 100-acre size, its special tax relief, and its representation of Christianity. The developers are in for a tough fight.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Oh, to feel the wind in your hair...

Truck hits wheelchair, hits road | Chicago Tribune: "PAW PAW, Mich. -- Ben Carpenter is used to being on wheels. Just not in this way.

Carpenter, 21, was taken for a 2-mile ride down a two-lane highway after the handles of his wheelchair got stuck in the grille of a semitrailer truck as he crossed an intersection in Paw Paw."

Ben looks awfully serene in the picture. Maybe he's just patiently waiting for the trucker to get close enough to strangle.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

People who didn't listen in school continued...

An Australian TV station constructed a Trojan Horse and attempted to deliver it to various institutions.

It's one of my favorites.

Where do pollsters find these people?

Eppure si muove…or does it? � "A case in point is the following. The GSS folk actually made the mistake of asking the following question as part of their science module:

Now, does the Earth go around the Sun, or does the Sun go around the Earth?

Here we go. Now what follows is real social science data folks. No joking around:

Earth around sun 73.6%
Sun around earth 18.3%
Don’t Know 8.0%
Refused 0.1%"

Holy Schnikes. That's 26.3% of the respondents who either thought the sun revolved around the earth or didn't know the answer.

I see a couple of things happening in the near future. I see Galileo getting retried in absentia for heresy and I see physics instructors battling against the effort to get "Intelligent Falling" into their textbooks.

I hope there's some huge flaw in polling methods, that they're surveying people outside a bar at closing time or something.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

There is no such thing as a "good" execution

ACLU: Who's botching the executions? - "COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- At Christopher Newton's execution by lethal injection last month, it took 90 minutes and at least 10 stabs of the needle for the execution team to find a vein. The procedure was so drawn out the staff paused to allow Newton a bathroom break."

Articles like this are interesting to me. I am strongly opposed to the death penalty so these debates about the finer points of killing have the air of arranging the deck chairs on a sinking ship. They totally miss the point of the killing itself. Once you're calmly strapping a man to a table for the sole purpose of extinguishing his life, does it really matter if the table is padded or not?

I believe killing is only acceptable in self defense and in war.

The idea that the death penalty deters murderers has been thoroughly debunked. Furthermore, we know we have sentenced innocent people to die.

I think that there should be greater media coverage of the actual executions. I think the American taxpayer should see and hear exactly what they're supporting, know without a doubt what is being done in their name.

Hopefully, after enough education and reasoned debate the people of the United States will realize their mistake and stop killing their own citizens in the name of law and order.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

East Indies Trading Company Still has Influence

Council bans boy, 6, from flying Jolly Roger at pirate party - because it is 'unneighbourly' | the Daily Mail: "A six-year-old boy's birthday plans were thrown into disarray when council officials told him he could not fly his pirate flag."

I am not clear on how the dad ended up talking with the town council about birthday party preparations.

The picture kinda gives me the creeps. The red, white, and blue costume reminds me of the SUV-driving anti-pirates that we have here in the United States.

I like the cutlass, though.

Monday, June 4, 2007

General Discharge Recommended for Anti-War Marine � Idaho Falls, Pocatello - Weather, News, Sports - Discharge suggested for anti-war Marine: "KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A military panel in Kansas City, Missouri, has recommended a general discharge for an Iraq war veteran who wore his uniform during a war protest."

The article says Adam Kokesh won't lose any military benefits. That's not completely correct. I know that you have to have an Honorable discharge for Montgomery GI Bill benefits. Kokesh is currently a graduate student at George Washington University, so he might miss the $1,000 a month payout.

This is still a whole lot better than the Other Than Honorable that was under discussion. An OTH would have cost him many more benefits.

Brand New Noah's Ark on Mount Ararat: Carpentry Against Climate Change - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

Brand New Noah's Ark on Mount Ararat: Carpentry Against Climate Change - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News: "Greenpeace likes to think big -- its latest publicity stunt is the recreation of Noah's Ark on Mount Ararat. The idea is to focus the attention of world leaders on the need to address climate change and to prevent major catastrophes -- including floods -- in the future."

They released 200 pigeons. They lost my support right there. I hate pigeons.

First seen on Foreign Policy.

House Elf has Delusions of Grandeur

‘I’m a pure and absolute democrat. It’s a tragedy that I’m the only one’ News World Europe TimesOnline: "“Of course, I am a pure and absolute democrat,” he said. “But you know what the problem is – not a problem, a real tragedy – that I am alone. There are no such pure democrats in the world. Since Mahatma Gandhi, there has been no one.”"

I was going to say that President Putin has more in common with Dobby the House Elf than Mahatma Ghandi, but Dobby had good intentions and Vladimir Putin does not.

Russia is not obliged to be a Jeffersonian democracy. There's no single perfect system of government that all countries must adopt. But Russia's government, in whatever form it takes, must be responsive to the needs of the people and take care that the people possess the means to assert those needs.

I would think that freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and some form of an elected government would be the standard for any first world country.

Vladimir Putin disagrees.

Vladimir Putin is the guy who closed an opposition newspaper. [here]

Vladimir Putin is the guy who closed the last independent television station in Russia. [here]

Vladimir Putin is the guy who had an opposition leader arrested before a political rally. [here]

Vladimir Putin is the guy who banned direct election of governors as a "counter-terrorism" measure. [here]

Sunday, June 3, 2007

If one standard is good then two standards must be better

BBC NEWS | Europe | Putin warns Europe in missile row: "Moscow may target weapons at Europe if the US builds planned missile defence facilities in the region, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said."

I like to pretend I know everything, but I don't. One of the things that I don't know is how missiles attained their special status. We have tanks, and we have anti-tank weapons. We have combat aircraft and we have anti-aircraft weapons. We have ballistic missiles and somehow anti-missile technologies are destabilizing.

Russia is upset about anti-missile technology because the Strategic Rocket Forces are the only remaining component of Russian armed forces that anyone respects. Anything that reduces the threat of their ICBMs directly reduces Russia's perceived military might.

There are two countries with deployed Anti-Ballistic Missile systems. The United States is one, and Russia is the other. That's the same Russia that goes nuts anytime anybody else tries to field a defensive system. Apparently Russia is the only country that has the right to defend their soil.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Andrew Speaker should talk to this guy

County violated rights, law, ACLU says: "Earlier this week, Daniels said he was told that his TB bacteria may be developing resistance to all antibiotics, and a portion of his lungs might require surgical removal. He said he was advised to write letters to his child in Moscow so the boy would have communication before his father's death."

This is a snippet out of an article discussing a 27 y/o male who has spent 10 months in jail for no other reason than to ensure that he takes his TB medications. He had been in a county sanitarium for indigent TB patients but was non-compliant and health officials upped the ante.

The ACLU is involved, trying to get Daniels out of the jail.

I learned about this on Slate.

Well other than that Mrs Lincoln, how did you like the play?

ABC News: TB Quarantine Raises Legal Questions: 'I'm a very well-educated, successful, intelligent person,' he told the newspaper. 'This is insane to me that I have an armed guard outside my door when I've cooperated with everything other than the whole solitary-confinement-in-Italy thing.'

Speaking as someone who has done a lot of stupid stuff in his life, explaining does not make things better.

I just hope he didn't infect anybody and there isn't somebody out there with a life threatening disease who doesn't know it.