horses and saddles sold cheap and other metaphors

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Property rights, peoples rights, and flags

High court OKs personal property seizures
As a result, cities have wide power to bulldoze residences for projects such as shopping malls and hotel complexes to generate tax revenue.

Local officials, not federal judges, know best in deciding whether a development project will benefit the community, justices said.

This is a lot like saying that robbers know best about which banks to rob.
More at NOW Eminent Domain, is your home yours or not. Take a long look at your city council, no matter what part of the country you're in, its probably filled with realtors, mortgage bankers, and people associated with the building contractors.

Must be time for the mid-term elections, the fake patriots have turned their back on important issues like the increasing number of children living in poverty and hacked up this hairball Cracking the Flag-Burning Amendment

And of course, that's the point: by not burning the Flag of the United States but rather something excruciatingly close to it, you're not violating a Constitutional Amendment, but engaging in free speech, which is of course covered by the First Amendment. You're getting all the impact of burning the US flag, with none of the Constitutional risk (although you may still get your ass kicked by angry veterans). You've cracked the flag-burning Amendment.

I'd never burn the flag myself or kill a roach with a shootgun, but then if someone else wants to dive head long into a big pool of stupid, who am I to stop'em.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Does Military service equal uber patriotism

For all my years listening to radio and TV, reading newspapers anf magazines there has been the impression that somehow military service made those that served a kind of super patriot. Who made that impression? Mostly conservatives, though I did grow up with the heroic legend of Jack Kennedy and his PT-109
PT-109 was a PT boat commanded by future United States President John F. Kennedy in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Kennedy's actions after the sinking of the PT-109 allowed him to claim "war hero" status in his political career, and may have contributed to his long-term back problems.

Kennedy's idling boat was rammed by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri on August 2, 1943 in the Blackett Strait between Kolombangara and Arundel in the Solomon Islands, cutting it in half and killing two of his men. Kennedy led the survivors, clinging to the wreckage of the boat, to safety on the deserted Plum Pudding Island. An article about the experience was printed in Reader's Digest just before Kennedy's first Congressional run, and the campaign reproduced the article and distributed it to potential voters.

While those that have served, especially during war time deserve our deepest graditude, military service should not be a litmus test for patriotism. Its not liberals, Democrats, or progressives that have made service a litmus test, its conservatives. Now that litmus test is coming back to bite them in the ass.
via A Liberal Marines Progressive Perspective
My theory in terms of why Republicans (generally speaking) are the way they are when it comes to military service, in a nutshell, is as follows: these GOP clowns who are so "military" and yet did not serve are like that because they never had their "cherry's busted" (so to speak) like those of us who have served (and continue to serve) in the Armed Forces. In other words, these GOP clowns still subscribe to their pre-pubescent and pubescent notions of what military service entails and/or is all about (i.e., toy soldiers in formation, pretty uniforms, 'Top Gun', immature notions of masculinity, etc.) without understanding that military service really isn't as romantic and glorious as they think it is, i.e., it's scrubbing toilets, mowing lawns, loneliness, mind-numbing paperwork, being away from family and friends, experiencing the unique gut pain of hoping that you get a letter from home, sharing a head/latrine with 10, 15 or more guys at the same time, being hungry, being too hot or too cold, going dirty for days or more at a time, etc. etc. See they don't understand that because they've NEVER been in it...again, I refer you to the 'Patton' monologue. So, in closing, putting magnetic ribbons on your SUV's ain't enough Republicans. Start putting your money where your mouth is my dear Republicans...sign up or sit down and shut the hell up! No one wants to hear words anymore, people are being killed and amputated on a daily basis. It's time for real action! Semper Fidelis

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Is the truth catching up to Bush and the neocons

Families of dead soldiers demand truth from Bush
From Lauren Bowker of Middletown:
"As a loved one of Joseph Tremblay of New Windsor, who died April 27 in Iraq doing what he considered his duty for his country and fellow Marines, I have feelings of such loss and sadness – and also extreme anger.
"The article (on the Downing Street Memo) has helped me understand my anger towards the President and his underhanded, dishonest and dangerous policies in Iraq.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

What we should be focusing on instead of the next new war.

Power of the Future: 10 Ways to Run the 21st Century

It starts off in reverse order with solar power leading the way at the 10 spot.

Libraries and privacy

I have a mean streak when it comes to my privacy. Its something I have to have. Sure I give up some of it, or rather trade some for some supposed benefits like a credit rating, but that's my decision. When the well intentioned civil service employees at certain agencies or paranoid politicians start deciding for us when, how, or where our provacy should be respected, watch out. The Patriot Act as it stands is a step more toward giving bunglers the tools they will certainly misuse when supposedly ferreting out terrorists. Its things like this that make me think that Osama and Company scored a larger victory then they realize. There's more knee jerk reacting going in this whole library business then actually making people safer.

U.S. demanded data from libraries, study finds

By Eric Lichtblau The New York Times

WASHINGTON U.S. law enforcement officials have made at least 200 formal and informal inquiries to libraries for information on reading material and other internal matters since October 2001, according to a study that adds grist to the growing debate in the U.S. Congress over the government's counterterrorism powers.

In some cases, agents used subpoenas or other formal demands to obtain information like lists of users checking out a book on Osama bin Laden. Other requests were informal and were sometimes turned down by librarians who chafed at the notion of turning over such material, said the American Library Association, which commissioned the study.

The association, which is pushing to scale back the government's powers to gain information from libraries, said its $300,000 study was the first to examine a question that was central to a House of Representatives vote last week on the USA Patriot Act: how frequently federal, state and local agents are demanding records from libraries.

The Bush administration says that while it is important for law enforcement officials to get information from libraries if needed in terrorism investigations, officials have yet to use their power under the Patriot Act to demand records from libraries or bookstores.

The library issue has become the most divisive in the debate on whether Congress should expand or curtail government powers under the Patriot Act, and it was at the center of a vote last week in the House approving a measure to restrict investigators' access to libraries.

The study does not directly answer how or whether the Patriot Act has been used to search libraries. The association said it was constrained from asking direct questions on the law because of secrecy provisions that could make it a crime for a librarian to respond. Federal intelligence law bans those who receive certain types of demands for records from challenging the order or telling anyone they have received it.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Proponents of ID are proof that some humans evolved from pretzels

via Societas
Michael Behe, a Professor of Biochemistry at Lehigh University........

....Ignorance and misrepresentation

This tendency to ignore or misrepresent also seems to hold for Michael Behe. Consider what his fellow scientists have said:

1. Jerry A. Coyne, a Professor of Ecology at the University of Chicago, finds Behe guilty not of "sloppy scholarship, but deliberate distortion"[1].
2. Bruce Alberts, President of the National Academy of Sciences, also finds that Behe "completely misrepresents the intent" of a statement Alberts made on biochemistry [2]. In reply to Behe, Alberts explains that since ID theories "are based on supernatural explanations, they can have nothing to do with science" [3].
3. Researchers also found that Behe misunderstood or misrepresented J. F. McDonald's "The Molecular Basis of Adaptation" [4].
4. Additionally, Behe claimed falsely that "[t]here has never been a meeting, or a book, or a paper on details of the evolution of complex biochemical systems" when in fact hundreds of such studies do exist and have been published [5].

Bebe is missing the humility gene, he'll be acting the part of science huckster for ID at a meeting of the Pennsylvania House Subcommittee on Basic Education.

Do Republican's know what century we're in

The reason I ask is that they're acting like the robber barons of a hundred years ago. Holding back innovation, new jobs, and new techonology to protect their pet industries.

Senate Makes Environment the Focus of Energy Bill
"Renewable energy will power our homes and businesses without polluting the air we breathe or the water we drink," said Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader.

But the Senate did not go as far as he and other Democrats had urged, rejecting by a vote of 53 to 47 a Democratic proposal to establish a goal of a 40 percent reduction in oil imports within 20 years. Critics had called the target unattainable and pointed to a provision that calls on the president to try to reduce oil consumption by one million barrels a day.

Yet the direction the Senate is taking on energy policy is putting it at odds with the House, where longtime oil industry allies have already produced a measure favoring traditional fossil fuels. The Bush administration also opposes the utility requirements approved by the Senate as well as the provision encouraging the drop in oil use.

My Ecosystem Details