Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Bush and Hitler Both Wore Socks!

Chris' post on the Durbin remarks received some interesting comments, to which I've responded here. Moral idiocy abounds.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Letter From the Cal. State Bar

"The Committee of Bar Examiners is pleased to advise you that you have been found to possess the good moral character required for certification to practice law in California."

Well move over Mother Theresa, I might just be sainted.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Multi-State Bar Exam Practice Question

Concerned over the growing number of murders, robberies, and other violent crimes being committed with guns, Congress enacted the Federal Firearm Control Act, which, inter alia, levied a tax of 5% of the sales price on every long weapon (rifle or shotgun) sold in the Unite States. The proceeds of the tax were earmarked for use by the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration. The Act provided for exceptions from its terms for police departments and the military. Ron, a shotgun collector and member of Americans for Freedom, a national gun owners' association, brings suit in federal district court seeking a declaration that the 5% tax on long weapons is unconsitutional.

How will the court likely rule?

(A) The tax is unconstitutional, because it infringes on the constitutional right of every citizen to bear arms.

(B) The tax is unconstitutional, because its effect is not limited to long weapons sold in interstate commerce, and thus will be applied to weapons sold entirely intrastate.

(C) The tax is constitutional as an exercise of the federal power to raise revenue.

(D) The tax is constitutional, pursuant to the Supremacy Clause of the federal Constitution.

I'm sure you can guess which answer I wanted to choose. I would be wrong, but venture a guess as to the correct answer.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

An Education on Mitt Romney

The June 6 edition of The Weekly Standard is running a detailed piece on Mitt Romney, his religion (also mine), and his presidential possibilities. It's a long article and well worth the read. I didn't know a whole lot about the man, and I was duly impressed by what I read. Given this kind of praise, and Condi's recent statements on a presidential slot, maybe RYAR will change his blog's name to RomneyRice2008.

Little tidbits I did not know:
  • Harry Reid is LDS?!
  • Mormons went 95/5 for Bush in 2004.
  • ...88/12 in 2000.
  • 1999 polling data suggested "that 17 percent of Americans wouldn't vote for a Mormon for president under any circumstances."
  • Romney has taken a pro-choice approach as governor, but describes himself as pro-life.
Him sharing my faith completely aside, he sounds like an impressive candidate. Read the article.

Friday, May 27, 2005

You knew it was only a matter of time

Linked by Drudge to this awkwardly headlined BBC report:
Doctors' kitchen knives ban call

A&E doctors are calling for a ban on long pointed kitchen knives to reduce deaths from stabbing.
This article has really got some gems:

They consulted 10 top chefs from around the UK, and found such knives have little practical value in the kitchen.
Given the reputation of British cuisine, the finding is perhaps understandable.
In contrast, a pointed long blade pierces the body like "cutting into a ripe melon".
Wait, I thought they didn't have any practical value in the kitchen?! How will we cut our ripe melons?
The study found links between easy access to domestic knives and violent assault are long established.
Might as well say that the link between violent assault and weapons in general is long established. What a shocker.
French laws in the 17th century decreed that the tips of table and street knives be ground smooth.
Oh, well, there we go. That settles it for me. If it's good enough for the French...

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Get a Real Job

So I'm watching a news story last night about the debate on Bolton in the Senate. The news story stated that Republicans were hopeful there would be a vote today before the Senate breaks for the Memorial Day weekend. Am I to understand that the Senators take Friday off in addition to Monday? Give me a break.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Constitutional Duty Averted

Phew! That was a close one! The senate almost made a rule that would require its members to do their constitutional duty. Good thing we averted that crisis.

What horse pucky.

I don't have a whole lot to say that hasn't been said by others. Just a few points:

I disagree with those conservative commentators (and apparently 7 Republican senators) who think the compromise is a good thing because the majority party will not have to face the public opinion backlash of a rule change. What public opinion backlash? The public at large understands that 1) the senate checks the executive by voting yes or no on his judicial appointments, and 2) majority rules. Those who believe there would have been backlash simply bought into the substance-free sophistry of the obstructionists, or at least believe that the American people have. I don't believe that's the case.

I could fisk some of that sophistry (particularly the senseless garbage coming from Harry Reid) here but it would be a waste of space. When the nominees are confirmed by overwhelming majorities, the public will see who really controls the Democratic party and how their objections (out of the mainstream, radical right wing, etc.) mean nothing.

The "extraordinary circumstances" clause: Maybe it's just that my bar prep software is currently stuck on the topic of contract law, but this provision of the agreement seems to render the Democrats' promise illusory. It's not defined, and there has already been comment from the left to the effect of "a Supreme Court nominee is, by definition, an extraordinary circumstance." The far left obstructionists will not have a hard time concocting some "extraordinary circumstances."

The preservation argument: Some were opposed to the "nuclear option" because it would mean that Republicans could not filibuster in the future if they found themselves in the minority with a Dem President. The only way that position is at all principled is if the holder is not opposed in any way to what the Democrats are doing. I don't think that's the case.

And let's not forget The Constitution: The President "shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint . . . Judges. . .." That consent comes in the form of a yay or nay vote on the nominee. In my mind, if the Senate fails to vote on a nominee after a reasonable amount of time, the Senate's tacit consent is implied in fact. That may just be the litigator in me - you raise your objection or you waive it.

This agreement is a temporary solution. This is a real fight we will have to face eventually. It's saddening that the GOP couldn't face it with some cajones the first time up... because it will never be easier.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Old Post, Fresh Action

Getting some significant action on an old post. Follow it to read my debate with the liberal secularist. "Would Jesus be such a bastard?" I seriously doubt the poster believes one iota in Jesus as the Great Example of how to live, but liberal secularists love to throw that in our face along with the argument that if we're not living up to the perfect example established by the central figure of our faith then we are somehow hypocrites not worth listening to.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Movie Talk

Can't remember what movie we rented the other day that showed a trailer for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, but it looked stunning. Found the official site here, which has a good-sized trailer for viewing. Can't wait for that. The only problem I see - it's coming from Disney. They will do Lewis a great disservice if they water down the powerful metaphors of Christianity that the book contains.

Also saw a couple trailers for Batman Begins, which looks excellent. It's gonna be a good summer.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Runaway Jury

My old lady rented Runaway Jury from the library the other day. I watched it tonight. What a load of anti-gun tripe. I expressed such sentiment and the wife said "the movie's not really about the guns." Well of course it's not. Like all good propaganda its principal message is (not so) subtly played out in the sub-text.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Rice Supports Second Amendment

Wow, two posts in two days on the Second Amendment. This blog might actually live up to its URL.

Linked by Drudge to this report on Condoleezza's views on the Second Amendment as shared on Larry King Live. "The Second Amendment is as important as the First Amendment." How un-black of her.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Second Amendment Non-Incorporation

Linked by Chris to this post by The Interocitor on the recent case out of the Second Circuit, Bach v. Pataki, which held that the Second Amendment is only enforcable against the federal government. Read the post. I'll be reading the opinion and possibly posting on it later.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Gotta Love The Trial Lawyers

Nice. It takes final exam avoidance to get me to post.

Just opened our American Express bill and had to laugh. There was one item. It was a credit of 41 cents. The description read: "CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT/BOEHR". Times like this that I'm so grateful we have trial lawyers in our country who are ever dedicated to the pursuit of justice. How much you wanna bet the firm on the case got 40 mill? We need serious reform.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Taxes That Fit The... Drive

California's legislature is considering taxing drivers for the number of miles they drive each year. It has a chance if it will replace the gasoline tax, but if it's in addition to, then there's no way. I've been in favor of this for years. I feel that ideally, any tax should be narrowly tailored so that those who use the services that the tax pays for, are the ones being taxed. This is just such a tax. They would, however, need to create a few different tiers because large trucks and buses really do the most damage to the roads; motorcycles very little.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

The Same Thing We Do Every Night

"Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy
***
...an experiment might be done later this year to create mice with human brains."

Hacks. It's been done.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Thoughts on the "Religious Right"

Since the election there has been much hysteria from commentators on the left about the "religious right" and how it wants to make America a theocracy and cram its values down everyone's throat through legislation. Many were referring to the ballot initiatives in eleven states asking whether gay marriage should be legal. Others may have been referring simply to our choosing a decidedly pro-life president. The role of religious faith in political life is an issue on which I've struggled to define my position. But recent events and commentary have caused me to evaluate it more vigorously.

The common gripe from the left is that the so-called "Christian Right" legislates its values, thereby imposing its religion on others. I have friends who are conservative and non-religious. Their response is typically that there are principles wholly apart from religion that shape their conservative position on tough issues. But I will confess that on particular issues my position is wholly shaped by my religious beliefs. My inner debate has revolved around an apparent contradiction in my personal policy. To illustrate the contradiction, consider my own religious creed which guides me to abstain entirely from the consumption of alcohol. And yet, if there were a ballot initiative in California to reinstate prohibition, I would vote against it. Contrast that with the clear position of my own sect opposing abortion. If I were a legislator, I would vote for a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion. So why the difference? Why, in one situation am I willing to allow my knowledge of right and wrong to shape my vote, and in the other I am not?

I turned to the LDS canon for some guidance. What follows are my thoughts on Doctrine & Covenants Section 134, "[a] declaration of belief regarding governments and laws in general, adopted by unanimous vote at a general assembly of the Church held at Kirtland, Ohio, August 17, 1835.":

1 WE believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society.
Okay, so right off the bat, government is a good thing. But this accountability is what you have to keep in mind for the rest of the section. Lefty secularists and atheists (LSA) have got to understand that if we happen to believe in a Supreme Being who will one day hold us accountable for all of our actions, including those in relation to government, then those principles that we believe to be handed down by the Supreme Being, are going to guide our actions (votes).

2 We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.
3 We believe that all governments necessarily require civil officers and magistrates to enforce the laws of the same; and that such as will administer the law in equity and justice should be sought for and upheld by the voice of the people if a republic, or the will of the sovereign.
4 We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul.

So the LSA might see verse 4 and argue that I should not allow my religious opinions to prompt me to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others. But the response is that our rights and liberties are defined by the law through the democratic process; a process controlled by a majority that is Christian. The Christian feels the duty of verse 1 and allows that duty to prompt him in making and administering laws. Those laws define the rights and liberties of others. Use abortion as an example: The law of our land currently grants a right to women to have an abortion. If a Christian, especially one in a position of power and influence, guided by religious opinion, were to prevent a woman from getting an abortion she wants, that would be wrong. But Christians voting in ways designed to eradicate the right to an abortion is not a violation of verse 4, and is in line with the duty of verse 1. Now, skipping to verse 9:

9 We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government, whereby one religious society is fostered and another proscribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members, as citizens, denied.
This might be another verse that the LSA would grab a hold of, reading everything up to the first comma as his own argument that we are unjustly mixing religion and government. But the clause cannot be read without the modifying material that follows it. I think the word "influence" is key. We're clearly talking about a situation where one religion allows its influence to proscribe the spiritual privileges of another religious society. How do you proscribe the spiritual privileges of atheists? "Bah, you're squelching my nihilism!" Don't think so. Notice also the mention of rights (see last comment). We must also consider this in the larger context of the verse 1 duty.

Those were the high points of the section that I wanted to hit. The section and my analysis of it do not answer my internal contradiction. I think the answer lies more in policy distinctions from issue to issue and questions of degree. There's just a line I don't want to see society cross. The LSA's of America just have to understand that most Americans believe in God, believe that He is a heckuva lot smarter than we, and that He will hold us accountable for our actions on earth. The left would prefer that we just roll over and say, "yeah, forget all that god stuff. In the voting booth I'll just pretend he doesn't exist, just to keep you happy." They ridicule the "Christian Right"; lumping us in with those who have been abducted by aliens; claiming that our faith and testimony are nothing more than feelings. I would ask: what is liberalism? It's based on feeling and it's their religion. They would rather that we allow them to impose their religion on us. So what are they complaining about? Simply that we're in the majority.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Atheist/Secular Left "Resents" Charitable Giving

Christmas Tree Controversy
December 15, 2004
By Molly Shen

BELLEVUE - You can't miss the Christmas tree in Bellevue City Hall.

"It's decorated with gold balls and gold ribbon," described a city worker.

They don't actually call it a Christmas tree.

"We call it the giving tree because it's meant as a season of giving and that's what it's for," explained Patrice Cole, who just made a donation.

The tree is adorned with requests for gifts from needy families.

It generates nearly $25,000 dollars worth of donations.

So, you might be surprised [no, not really] that Sidney Stock would look at this tree and say, "I resent it."

Sidney and Jennifer Stock are atheists.

Such an interesting choice of words "resent." I can almost, almost wrap my head around the notion that it makes them feel uncomfortable, or unwelcome, but their true colors come out when they say they resent it. What is it about religious principles - heck, not even religious principles - but just plain good principles (like charitable giving) that may be derived from a religious tradition, that these people resent so much?

They asked the city council to remove the tree because it represents Christmas which is a Christian holiday.

Stock says city hall should "Act as a place where everybody feels welcome. It is impossible for everybody's religious belief to be displayed and non-religious belief to be displayed, so therefore, no religious beliefs be displayed."

I agree there. It is impossible to display non-religious belief. Maybe you could do it in a modern art museum. Everyone could stare at an empty space and ooh and ahh over the beautiful symbol of atheism.

The courts already sided with the city on this one.

Barbara Ramey, spokesperson for the city explained. "Courts have ruled that Christmas trees are actually a secular symbol so given that, we are within the court precedents set on this issue," says Ramey.

The Stocks complained after a city worker told them the tree makes him feel out of place, and if he says so, he fears for his job.

If only you had a legal right to not feel out of place, or unwelcome, or uncomfortable, or offffennded. Why should we care so much about how you feel? That's something only you can control.

The couple's already gotten hate filled phone calls, but they speak out anyway, because they believe many people feel the way they do but stay silent.

"There are a lot of people who've come to this country, maybe have been here for years, who don't feel freedom to say anything," says Jennifer Stock. "So we feel we're saying it for those people. Not just for ourselves."

Again, they don't feel freedom to say anything, but they have that freedom nonetheless. But how they feel must be of some legal significance. Right?

The city doesn't plan to take the tree down and expects it will go up again next year.

They can also expect to hear from the Stocks.

Sidney Stock points out that to bring about change, you have to stir the pot.

"I try and be aware of injustice and inequality when it effects anybody or everybody," he says. "Certainly this is something that has been a problem for as long as I can remember."

How is this an injustice? How is this an inequality? How is it a problem? And how did the author of this article manage to miss the difference between "effect" and "affect?" The court precedents further point out that this kind of a public forum should be open to all viewpoints. So has Stock asked the city if he can post his own atheist display? If he has and they denied him, then there might be an inequality, but his naked feeling of resentment doesn't create a legal injustice or inequality. This malignant narcissism just drives me bonkers. I wish someone like this could just articulate for me what it is that's so wrong with this situation. (Note: see this post and the Rosen link.)

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

President’s daughter applies for job at D.C. public school

Gee, do you think she'll get the job? And get a load of the schools name: Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School. That's a mouthful. I wonder if they just call it EWSCFPCS; ya know, like ooskuf-pics. Not funny I know.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Blue America: The land of the easily offended

Dennis Prager's latest article is a good reflection on yet another difference between liberals and conservatives. One aspect which he failed to mention is that so many liberals are secularists or atheists, and so liberalism is their religion. It's easy to be offended when someone attacks your religion. For so many (religious) conservatives they are Christians/Jews/Other first, Americans second, and conservatives third. So if you insult their conservatism it kind of rolls off their backs. I was intrigued to see that my particular minority made his list.

Update: Mike Rosen's weekly piece provides a specific example of the phenomonen.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

FDA Not Seeing the Big Picture

I've always somewhat disliked the FDA for its tendency to block potentially life-saving drugs from the marketplace. But that tendency has never really hit close to home for me... until now.

P&G Female Sex-Drive Patch Stirs Safety Concerns

P&G studied about 1,000 women who said they were bothered by low sex drive and, on average, reported three satisfying sexual experiences per month. The number increased to five for women who were treated with Intrinsa, but also rose to four for women given a dummy patch.

"Is an increase in approximately one sexually satisfying encounter a month ... worth the possibility of an increase in breast cancer or coronary artery disease?" asked Dr. Sidney Wolfe, head of Public Citizen's Health Research Group. He urged the FDA panel to reject the drug.
Wolfe isn't seeing the big picture. How large an increase in sexually satisfying encounters did the man experience? And how did that improve the relationship? Huh? Tell me that! I think we all know why these male scientists are trying to develop this patch. They must have this data.

Look for the tongue in the cheek people.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Increase in Freedom Enrages Left

A classmate who shall remain nameless just sent this Suzanne Goldenberg article to the student body. The student's preface read as follows:
It's starting already... Want to make a difference? Call your House Representative and Senators and tell them, as a constituent, that you disapprove of this bill. Tell them that this bill constitutes an _undue burden_ under the Planned Parenthood v. Casey test*, reminding them that, regardless of one's own personal beliefs, constitutional rights are just that, and cannot be overturned by acts of Congress (e.g., Congress is not allowed to permit segregation). Let them know you don't want to begin the holidays thinking about all of the women who are about to experience great bodily harm or even death because Congress has helped to prevent access to safe abortions.
My response (to the student body) read as follows:

Congress adds a clause to its spending bill allowing hospitals and insurance companies to refuse to perform abortions.

This sounds like an increase in freedom to me. Women are still free to seek abortions and have them performed, they've just gotta find someone willing to perform it. And those groups who find abortion morally repugnant are free to decline to perform the procedure. It's kind of the way the world works for countless goods and services. I have the constitutional right to bear arms, but the gun dealer can certainly refuse to sell to me. Forcing a doctor, under color of state law, to perform a procedure that he finds morally repugnant, itself violates constitutional freedoms of association and free exercise. Abortion may be a constitutional right under Roe v. Wade, but it's not an affirmative right. Somehow I don't think women are going to have a hard time finding someone willing to terminate their respective fetuses. Where's the beef?

They still don't get it . . . and that's good.

Last night on campus the Democrat club sponsored an event entitled "Post-Election Panel: Why We Lost and What We Can Do." The panel consisted of four professors who ranged from leftist-but-reasonable to I-love-Michael-Moore leftist. As a Republican, I have to say that the event was very, very encouraging. When I got to ask my question the moderator made it clear that I am the President of the Republican club on campus. As a result, I was waylaid by a gentleman after the event who wanted to "ask me a question." He certainly took his time getting to the question. He had earlier said (in the event) that America is a terrorist nation, so I asked him to tell me which country in the world is the greatest moral force for good on earth. His answer: Cuba! Gosh they're fun.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

New Reason to Like Bush

Linked by Drudge to this AP piece on an odd little confrontation between Chilean security officials and Bush's Secret Service agents. This was either a highly embarassing but honest mistake, or an insulting and threatening stunt. All I know is if I were in Bush's position I would immediately suspect an ambush of sorts. It appears that he wasn't immediately aware of it though. But the fact that he goes back and gets a little mussed up for his boys... I love this guy. "The president, looking irritated...." Uh, yeah. Would have been hilarious to see the SS agents just drop the guys to the floor and walk in.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Liberal, or Limbaugh?

Linked by Drudge to this report that Limbaugh's case is going to the Florida Supreme Court. It will be interesting to see whether the liberal court can look past the individual bringing the suit and hold that a constitutional right was violated here. I imagine that the liberal court would want to find such a right to privacy, but for Limbaugh...?

Move Them On

Pointed by Republican Dan to this highly amusing site. A couple weeks ago I would have sent it to the student body here at school as many students were moaning about moving to Canada.
We have received so many e-mails from citizens of our selected partner countries (particularly Canada) offering to exchange places with U.S. citizens wishing to leave that we are now working on a Citizen Exchange Program.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Carter's Words on Arafat:

"Yasser Arafat's death marks the end of an era and will no doubt be painfully felt by Palestinians throughout the Middle East and elsewhere in the world," Carter said.

"He was the father of the modern Palestinian nationalist movement. A powerful human symbol and forceful advocate, Palestinians united behind him in their pursuit of a homeland," he said in a statement distributed by his Atlanta, Georgia-based Carter Center.

He said that while Arafat provided "indispensable leadership to a revolutionary movement" and played a key role in forging a peace agreement with Israel in 1993, he was excluded from negotiations in recent years.

"My hope is that an emerging Palestinian leadership can benefit from Arafat's experiences, be welcomed to the peace process by (Israeli) Prime Minister (Ariel) Sharon and (US) President (George W.) Bush, and be successful in helping to forge a
Palestinian state living in harmony with their Israeli neighbors," Carter said.

Look at the moral clarity in those remarks. From a strictly textual standpoint, Carter has managed to take no moral stand on the "legacy" of Arafat. In the opening he refrains from saying that Arafat's death will be painfully felt by him. And he's a powerful human symbol, but of what? He was a forceful advocate for what? Is that what we call terrorism now, forceful advocacy? And yes, I'm sure his leadership was indispensable to those who followed him, and their movement was in some sick way "revolutionary." And perhaps by "experiences" Carter means that the new leadership can learn from Arafat's mistakes. Carter has managed to praise Arafat without actually taking a moral stand on his life. Carter is a moral imbecile.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Validation...

...among computer geeks anyway. I was published on page 57 of the Nov. 30 issue of PC Magazine. Yay. Text follows:
It was ironic to find such an elitist piece of drivel as Dvorak's "The Zeros vs. the Ones" in a magazine dedicated to the PC, this generation's most powerful symbol of egalitarianism. Its offspring, the internet, is no less of an equalizer in an information marketplace dominated by individuals of the same political persuasion. The internet is not a passive medium. That Dvorak feels "confronted" by the opinions of people he believes to be disturbed or feeble-minded perhaps says more about Dvorak than it does about the Net.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Cuts Both Ways I Think

Coulter's latest piece rants about the polls:
The exit polls were absurd: They showed Kerry winning Pennsylvania by 20 points and Bush tied with Kerry in Mississippi. Only monkey business can explain the wildly pro-Kerry exit polls – admittedly hard to believe with a party that has behaved so honorably throughout this campaign. Michael Barone speculates that the sites of exit polling were leaked to the Democrats, and Democrats sent large numbers of voters to those polls to take exit polls and throw the results.
She reasons that "[e]arly exit polls showing Kerry the clear winner could be expected to depress the vote for Bush." It would seem to cut both ways in my mind. It would have to be a huge margin for the fired-up Republican to just say, "aw screw it" and not vote. Polls showing Kerry well ahead could light a fire under Republicans to get out and vote, and could also motivate Democrats to say, "ah, he's got it in the bag, I don't need to go to the polls." Polls showing Bush ahead could have mirrored effects in my mind.

Monday, November 01, 2004

New State Added To The Union!

Bush, Kerry Squeeze Every Hour to Campaign

Kerry, saying he felt "fabulous," headed for Milwaukee, too, a state Al Gore won in 2000 and the Democrats cannot afford to lose this year.

Congratulations to Milwaukee on becoming a state!

Why does it tickle my funny bone so much that Kerry said he felt "fabulous?"

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Not a Bad Response

Bush is finally making some response to Kerry's wild allegations on the weapons stashes, according to Drudge. It's not a bad one; I think it does what it needs to do (point out what this says about the candidate) at this stage in the game. It would be nice though if the Bush camp neutralized the media threat as well - if they got something out there to tell the uninformed that they can't believe what they read/hear in the main stream press over the next week.

Been a while since my last post. Everyone at home is sick. I'm exhausted. Sorry.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

California Propositions

Here's how I'll be voting on the 16 propositions being placed on the California General Election ballot on November 2:
  • Prop. 1A - YES - I'm all about moving control of taxpayer dollars closer to the people. The more local the control, the better.
  • Prop. 59 - YES - I'm always in favor of government processes being more open to public scrutiny. The only argument in opposition is that it doesn't go far enough. Well let's start somewhere.
  • Prop. 60 - YES - This proposition protects what is already in place as far as our primary elections. Since it doesn't change anything I was going to vote NO, but I want my YES vote to cancel out any YES that some idiot might cast for 62. (The State Constitution provides that if the provisions of two approved propositions are in conflict, only the provisions of the measure with the higher number of yes votes at the statewide election take effect.) Keep our primaries closed!
  • Prop. 61 - NO - Oh I'm sure someone will accuse me of hating the children, but I vote NO on all bond initiatives on principle. There is so much fat in our state budget that could be cut in order to pay these hospital projects. Not to mention the millions of illegal aliens that cause such a drain on our healthcare services.
  • Prop. 62 - NO!! - Keep our primaries closed. If this passes, Democrats will be able to monkey around with the Republican's primary and vice-a-versa. Not only that, but it would potentially place two Democrats on the general election ballot for any given state-wide office. I really hope this one goes down in flames.
  • Prop. 63 - NO - An increase in state income taxes (that it's only 1% and only on income over $1 million is irrelevant to me - see Prop. 61) to pay for mental health services? Forget it.
  • Prop. 64 - YES!! - The text on the ballot says it best: "Allows individual or class action 'unfair business' lawsuits only if actual loss suffered...." Duh! Stop shakedown lawsuits. If you've got a real claim, you won't be barred. Otherwise, let the Attorney General handle it.
  • Prop. 65 - YES - Prop. 1A better accomplishes what this proposition was meant to. So there's no argument in favor of 65 in the info guide, because its proponents are now asking you to vote YES on 1A instead. Given the parenthetical in my Prop. 60 explanation, I'll vote YES on this one anyway, so that if 1A goes down, 65 may still have a chance of applying. (Yeah, right, if I were the only one voting.)
  • Prop. 66 - NO! - "Limits 'Three Strikes' law to violent and/or serious felonies. Permits limited resentencing under new definitions." 'Nuff said. But of course I'll say more. I don't care if they're violent felonies or just felonies, put 'em in jail. Under the "limited" resentencing, we could see some really bad guys released if this thing passes.
  • Prop. 67 - NO!! - It's a cell phone tax to bail out the state's E.R.'s because illegal aliens aren't paying their E.R. bills. Its proponents pushed it as a big boost to the 911 system. Less than 1% of it goes to the 911 system. Just another tax to help a fiscally irresponsible legislature. Vote no.
  • Prop. 68 - NO - My Libertarian tendencies urge me to legalize gambling everywhere. But this is not that. It's unprecedented preferential treatment for some special interests.
  • Prop. 69 - NO - I'm all in favor of collecting a felon's DNA once he's been convicted in a court of law, but this would collect DNA samples from people who have merely been arrested or charged with particular felonies (and starting in 2009, any felony). The proponents argue that there is a way to have your sample expunged from the data bank once you're exonerated. I read the provisions on that, and frankly, they involve some pretty burdensome procedural steps. But the kicker was this: "The court has the discretion to grant or deny the request for expungement. The denial of a request for expungement is a nonappealable order and shall not be reviewed by petition for writ." Me no likey. Nope, sorry, don't trust that discretion on such an important matter as having your DNA side-by-side with convicted felons. As for the program as a whole, I believe that the more samples you have in the data bank, the greater the statistical probability of false positives. I accept a system that lets some guilty people go as the price of not putting any innocent people behind bars.
  • Prop. 70 - NO - See Prop. 68. I understand that part of the agreement would exempt the tribes from any audit to verify that they are paying what's due. Ridiculous.
  • Prop. 71 - NO - It's a bond initiative, so off the bat, NO. But it's also for stem cell research, an area that I find fraught with ethical dangers.
  • Prop. 72 - NO, NO, NO and a THOUSAND TIMES, NO!!! - It's a job killer! It's the dumbest thing I've ever heard of. People actually think they're helping someone by passing this kind of garbage. Tell me, if you employ 23 people and this thing passes, what are you going to do? You're going to have to fire three or four people! How have you helped anyone? Say you employ 40 people. You're still going to have to fire enough people to save enough to pay for the health insurance of the rest of your employees. Some may say that 30 odd people having health insurance and a handful being out of a job is better than 40 people not having any health insurance. But why should government mandate that decision?! Never mind that 20 of those employees might turn down health insurance, never wanted it in the first place. Leave personal choice and freedom of contract alone! People know what they're getting when they take a job. Don't force companies to fire people to obey this law. Don't force businesses out of the state. I really, really, really hope this thing goes down. If it doesn't, then California voters are stupid. They elected Arnold on the platform of making CA more employer friendly. A NO vote on this garbage is right in line with that platform. Let's hope they're consistent.
  • County Measure A - NO - "[S]hall the Countywide sales tax be increased by one-half cent...?" Uh, no.
Happy voting!

Friday, October 15, 2004

Liberal Bias at Blockbuster?

So I go to blockbuster.com and look at the complete list of new releases, sorted by release date. The first 15 movies listed included such titles as:
Is there a possible liberal bias at Blockbuster? I don't know if any of the conservative documentaries screened at the Liberty Film Festival are out on DVD yet, but you can be sure I'll look out for them on Blockbuster's new release list.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

New Kerry Ad

The RNC has put out this new "attack" ad on Kerry. You know it's pretty bad when the opposing party's "attack" ad features nothing more than unaltered footage of your candidate. So why are they nearly tied in the polls? Because the half doesn't care that Kerry wears so many masks - they just hate Bush.