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Eminent Domain Stuff

New London Update (2/24/06)
Coverage of the Rally at New London's City Hall (w/ pics)

Friday, April 29, 2005



Sometimes, traitors need to be brought to justice.

(via The Command Post)


Thursday, April 28, 2005


Ann Sums It Up

She has a way of cutting through the BS:

I am sublimely confident that normal Americans will not be shocked to learn that a Republican Senate plans to confirm the judicial nominees of a Republican president –- despite the objections of radical elements of a party that is the minority in the Senate, the minority in the House, the loser in the last two presidential races, the minority in state governorships, and the minority in all but a tiny number of very small but densely populated enclaves in this country that need to tax Rush Limbaugh, even though he lives in another state, just to keep all their little socialist programs afloat.
Again, all the arguments about how bad the lack of a filibuster might be in the future where Republicans are the minority are a bunch of defeatist garbage. If the Republicans screw up and We The People punish them at the polls, then they don't deserve to make decisions anyway...which is exactly the situation the Democrats find themselves right now. They just can't admit it because they feel entitled to win and always be in power.


Stem Cell Advance

That would be Non-Embryonic Stem Cell Advance, for those keeping score at home:

Stem cell treatment restored mum's vision

A woman who was blinded after she was attacked with acid has had her eyesight almost totally restored.


The procedure involves taking stem cells which occur naturally in the eye from cadavers and transplanting them into patients eyes where they grow to heal the damaged cornea.
(via USS Neverdock)


Huffington Ready To Launch

As mentioned previously Arianna Huffington will soon launch a "group blog" to serve as a babbling space for her and some Hollywood-type "friends" (and I add the "quotes" for a reason that should become painfully obvious once this thing is under way). The Guardian got a preview:

I can't think of anything to say, posted by G Paltrow on Mon May 9 at 09:21 PDT
Arianna: its rlly uncool whn my cell rings during pilates. i said id post whn & if i had something to say. rt now im just too busy. stop bugging me.


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Another Cutting Edge Contribution, posted by "Huff" on Mon May 9 at 09:23 PDT
Cantankerous, unafraid and always outspoken, that's Gwyneth (Paltrow) to a tee! You can expect to be hearing a lot more from her on Huffingtonpost.com, on a whole variety of subjects!

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Does anyone know how to get red wine stains out of a wool carpet? posted by NORMAN MAILER on Mon May 9 at 10:14 PDT
I'm screwed if my wife sees this. I'm not even supposed to drink in that room. I've been scrubbing but that just seems to spread the stain around. A quick answer would be most appreciated.

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Hold on to your hat folks. This should be entertaining =).


Hearings! I Demand Hearings!

Remember, it's the seriousness of the (potential) charges that is important. The Senate should drop this Bolton nonsense and start taking a close look at that sexist Mfume!

Mfume Accused of Favoritism At NAACP
Ex-President Denies Rewarding Women

Allegations detailed in a confidential NAACP report claim that Kweisi Mfume gave raises and promotions to women with whom he had close personal relationships while he was president of the nation's oldest civil rights organization.

The 22-page memorandum, prepared last summer by an outside lawyer, did not accept as true the claims lodged against Mfume by a female employee but determined that they could be "very difficult to defend persuasively" if she filed a lawsuit.
Well, I think that cinches it..."very difficult to defend" is pretty much a conviction, right Mr. and Mrs. Democratic Senator (and Voinovich)?


Wednesday, April 27, 2005


(Out Of) Air America

Looks like Air America might not be quite the lucrative investment Al O'Franken wanted it to be:

Franken's performance against Limbaugh in the most recent ratings is significantly lower than in Air America's first months. In Spring 2004, Air America's first quarter on the air, Franken scored a 2.6-percent share to Limbaugh's 3.2-percent share. In Summer 2004, he scored a 2.8-percent share to Limbaugh's 3.2 percent. But in Fall 2004, Franken dropped to a 1.8 percent share to Limbaugh's 4.1-percent share, all within the 25 to 54 age group.
As I suspected, the high ratings at the outset was mostly interest in the unknown. Once people got a chance to listen they figured out that these people are full of pure drivel. What a nice warm fuzzy feeling on a dreary day =).


Air America's ratings (per IQ point) just went sky-high! (But only because they're such absolute imbeciles.)

Update 2:

Drudge has this:

No, Ms. Rhodes. While it may have been a "lame attempt at humor" it was primarily a criminal attempt at humor. There are certain lines one does not cross, and this particular one is no secret. I think it might just be time for this spoiled children at Air America to grow up and join the adult world.


Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Happy Slapping

Have you heard of this odd craze in the UK?

Concern over rise of 'happy slapping' craze


Welcome to the disturbing world of the "happy slappers" - a youth craze in which groups of teenagers armed with camera phones slap or mug unsuspecting children or passersby while capturing the attacks on 3g technology.


"If this happy slapping fad continues it will only be a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt," predicted another.
Yeah, like one of the little punks pulling this crap. I hate to paint with broad brush strokes, but does anyone see this flying in the US? I don't know about you, but there would be blood on the ground if some punk came up and tried to smack me. If there were enough of 'them', maybe some of the blood would even be mine.


Judicial Nominees

Don't let anyone tell you that the Democrats are just doing their job by filibustering Bush's nominees. Not only has this never been done in the history of the Senate, but Bush has gotten nowhere near the confirmation percentage of his predecessors. Check out the chart at ProfessorBrainbridge.com (via Rush)


Stand up and be counted Sen. Frist!

WASHINGTON (AP) - Reacting to a Democratic offer in the fight over filibusters, Republican leader Bill Frist said Tuesday he isn't interested in any deal that fails to ensure that the Senate votes on confirmation for all of President Bush's judicial nominees.
That's how the majority Party is supposed to act! Now I just hope he holds the line.


UN Is A Lost Cause

The very structure of the UN makes it inevitable. Dictatorships and amoral European countries get the same vote the US gets. Read this piece and then tell me that we should be involved in the UN, let alone footing the sucker's share of the bill:

But one feature of the atmosphere should be noteworthy to the American taxpayer, who is footing 22 percent of the bill. It is the common belief of all and sundry that the world's biggest problem is the United States. As one delegate stated so succinctly, at the U.N. the United States is radioactive. The statements of U.S. representatives and their calls for a vote are met with groans, and the outcomes are often met with laughter. Almost one-third of the votes cast this year found the U.S. voting alone or with a single other state.


The composition of the U.N. Commission makes such results possible. Its members include some of the countries with the poorest human-rights records in the world: Bhutan, China, Cuba, Egypt, Eritrea, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, and Zimbabwe. 58 percent of Commission members are less than fully democratic, according to Freedom House.


Monday, April 25, 2005


Human Cloning

These sorts of things disgust me:

The Case for Cloning Humans

Controversial? Yes. But this approach might just be the best way to understand and treat otherwise intractable diseases | By Ian Wilmut

A few months ago I, along with Christopher Shaw at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, applied to the British government for a license to clone human embryos. That license was awarded on February 8. Yet contrary to the public consternation that then arose, our goal is not to "clone babies," but rather to understand how nerve cell development goes awry in patients with motor neuron disease (MND), also called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig disease.
This whole issue is not going away, and the more articles like this that get published the more likely people are to acquiesce to this barbaric practice. Of course Dr. Wilmut doesn't want to (say he will) "clone babies". That wouldn't be ethical (oh, and it also wouldn't get him the money, interesting coincidence, no?). All he wants to do is to understand and cure diseases. Oh, how lovely.

What he's not telling you is that he will, in fact, "clone babies". He will cause the creation of an organized collection of matter that, given its natural environment (i.e., the womb) would develop into a full term infant.

The very fact that the pro-cloning side needs to go to such semantic lengths suggests that they know exactly what sort of reaction the truth would elicit.


Thursday, April 21, 2005


Read This

Absolutely amazing post. Read it.

(via Smoke on the Water and Bloodletting)


Cable News Race

Drudge has the ratings up on his front page:


FNC GRETA 1,441,000
CNN KING 907,000
CNN ZAHN 385,000



WASHINGTON - Starting Thursday, air travelers will have to leave their lighters at home. Unlike guns, knives and other dangerous items that a passenger cannot carry aboard but may stow in checked bags, lighters are banned everywhere on a plane.
The genesis for the ban was Richard Reid, who tried unsuccessfully to light explosives hidden in his shoes on a trans-Atlantic flight in 2001. He used matches.

The sponsors of the ban, Democratic Sens. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Ron Wyden of Oregon, worried that a lighter might have worked. (emphasis mine)
Ooookkk. So there's no way that matches could be successful? Or maybe there're ducking the issue because...

"The problem with the TSA on the matches is the inability to detect them," Stempler said.

Well, in any case I'm not convinced that this is going to make us any safer...but maybe I'm wrong. The question is where or not any increase in safety outweighs the increased cost (in terms of time spent) of this ban.

Either way, air travel is getting ridiculous. The lines are long, you've practically got to get undressed to walk though the metal detectors and (with apologies to George Lucas) if a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away some bad guy with a name resembling yours did something bad you're put through the ringer every time you try to get a boarding pass.


Submit Or Fight Back?

It's each individual's choice, but you should keep this in mind:

FORT WORTH, Texas - Fort Worth police catch a major break in the murder case of a clerk who was killed during a robbery last week.
The men allegedly got away with $26. A witness to the crime said Karim complied with the robbers' demands and that the shooting was not necessary. (emphasis mine)
He gave them money, did what they said and got killed anyway. Makes you think twice about the Brady Campaign, huh?


Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Democrats Just Don't Get It

But I say, let Soros and his buddies spend billions starting up and funding liberal think thanks to siphon ideas to politicians. That way, the Democratic Party will never make a comeback.

Soros says be patient

Yeah, really, really, really patient.


London's Big Brother

Orwell may have been off by a few decades, but he hit the geographical nail on the head:

Satellites to track cars in 80p a mile toll

New details have been revealed of plans to charge London motorists up to 80p a mile to drive on city roads.

Hi-tech satellite tracking systems are expected to be introduced in 2015 and will mean significant investment in the transport network.
However, trials of a separate system of an electronic tag and beacon system are to take place in Southwark this year.

In this scheme - expected to be introduced in full in 2009 - 110 cars will be fitted with tags, allowing the cars to be detected by roadside beacons which will then deduct charges.

In the system to be introduced in 2015, Mayor Ken Livingstone wants to equip cars with satellite tracking devices so that drivers could be charged at different rates depending on how close they came to the city centre.
When is enough enough?


The Sacred Filibuster

I recently commented on this post over at Blog d'Ellison. In response Elisson was kind enough to email me. I will not reveal the content of his email (he was quite cordial, I just haven't asked his permission) but I will post my thoughts on the issue of filibusters in general, of judicial nominees in particular and the Senates Sacred rules.

As you will recall, it was not all that many years ago when the Democrats successfully weakened the filibuster and argued (correctly) that rules of the Senate can be changed. So any suggestion that this is purely a Republican tactic is demonstratably false.

Regardless, there are a few questions that remain. Many on the Left (and perhaps some on the Right) have warned of a future where the Republicans are in the minority and will "need" the filibuster. I, for one, disagree with the principle of this rule and I don't care which party is in power. It basically ensures that the will of the majority of Americans, through their representatives, can be tharwated by a minority. Why was the number of votes need for cloture changed from 67 to 60? Why not make it 99 or 100 (up until 1917 there was no cloture and debate was truly unlimited)? What about 51? What level of minority stonewalling is ok?

As you may or may not recall, there was a defacto filibuster in the House in the 19th century. This led to a serious disruption of business and so Thomas Reed kicked so butt and got things done and I don't think it caused the collapse of Government.

Finally, since confirmation of judicial nominees is not one of the functions of Congress for which the Constitution requires a super-majority, there is no reason why it cannot be changed (as it already has multiple times in the past).

In the end the current incarnation of the filibuster is troubling and should be scrapped. I would not be opposed to a true filibuster. Currently, the Senate rules stipulate that a Senator need only to express his/her intention to filibuster, which is recorded. This stops any debate on the topic and allows other business to continue. If, instead, the filibustering party was required to actually hold the floor (and thereby stopping all other business) I think the practice would be used much more (ouch) judiciously.


Pointing Out Stupidity

Sometimes that all a guy can do:

NASHUA, N.H. (AP) - Every kid knows hanging out with Mom or Dad can be kind of a drag. Kids who want to spend time at the Pheasant Lane Mall on Friday or Saturday nights might not have a choice.
If the parent can't accompany the child during those times, they are asked to take the youngster home, she said.

If kids are found to be disrupting the mall's business, Szymanski said they will be escorted to the command center to call a parent to pick them up.
Szymanski said the mall doesn't have a gang problem, but that people with certain attire - such as long chains that fall below the knee or studded dog or wrist collars, all of which can be used as weapons, she said - will be asked to remove them. If they don't comply, they will be asked to leave the mall, she said.

Leann Newcomb questioned the rule.

"They sell that stuff," said Newcomb. "How are they going to tell the kids after they buy that stuff not to wear it? Isn't that a violation of your constitutional rights?" (emphasis mine)
To answer your question, Ms. Newcomb: No. That is, in fact, not a violation of you Constitutional Rights. I just looked and I can't find anything in the Constitution's text, Bill or Rights or later amendments that indicates a recognized right to wear whatever clothing you wish on someone's personal property.

Of course, there's always the possibility that at some point in the future an unconstitutional law might be passed prohibiting owners of private property to regulate conduct on said property. Oh wait, that's already been done.


Tuesday, April 19, 2005


Line Up At The Drivethru!

That's right folks. Finish reading this post, hop in the car and get you some Fast Food! (I'm kidding. But seriously...finish reading the post.)

CHICAGO — Being overweight is nowhere near as big a killer as the government thought, ranking No. 7 instead of No. 2 among the nation's leading preventable causes of death, according to a startling new calculation from the CDC.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated today that packing on too many pounds accounts for 25,814 deaths a year in the United States. As recently as January, the CDC came up with an estimate 14 times higher: 365,000 deaths.
Interesting, to say the least. But never let it be said that CDC will let science get in the way of their pet project (i.e., spending our money badly):

CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding said because of the uncertainty in calculating the health effects of being overweight, the CDC is not going to use the brand-new figure of 25,814 in its public awareness campaigns and is not going to scale back its fight against obesity.

"There's absolutely no question that obesity is a major public health concern of this country," she said. Gerberding said the CDC will work to improve methods for calculating the consequences of obesity.
Ok, so we want to be a little cautious. Of course, then there's this:

The analysis was led by Katherine Flegal, a senior research scientist with the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. The study that had to be corrected was conducted by a different arm of the CDC, the Division of Adult and Community Health, and its authors included Gerberding. (emphasis mine)
I hate to point this out...but the very person at CDC quoted as suggesting that they will not use this new number just happens to be one of the authors who originally helped find the (allegedly) outrageously high figure of 365,000. Interesting, to say the least.

This is just another in a long and distinguished line of things-the-government-tells-us-about-health-that-turn-out-to-be-so-much-crap.

Sorry guys, cry wolf all you like. I can't hear you over the screaming kids at Burger King.


Some Get It And Some Don't

The National Association of Broadcasters just had a conference in Vegas. A short article on just a few comments made by big name network types pretty much says it all. First up the one who gets it -- Sam Donaldson:

"God forbid, if someone shot the President, which network would you turn to? It will be cable, the Internet--something other than General Hospital being interrupted."

Increasingly, viewers will continue turning to alternative sources for everyday news as well, he said.

Now, for the one who doesn't get it -- Charles Osgood:

Osgood said the network news can remain competitive with other platforms but must be constantly reevaluated to remain competitive--a fact that makes him glad he's at the tail end of his career rather than the beginning. "It used to be when we wanted to make a show more appealing to more people, the first thing we did was design a new set."
Ok, so I fibbed. He at least "gets it" insofar as he understands that things are getting really rough for network news. He is, however, painfully ignorant of something. Maybe it's just that he doesn't have the capacity to feel embarrassment. Thing about the quote and what it implies about the old days. Truly pitiful...in more than a few ways.


Monday, April 18, 2005



A few days back I posted some thoughts on the Terri Schiavo case. One of my contentions elicited a comment and I would like to set the record (as I see it) straight. I would, however, be grateful if anyone with a better understanding of legal-speak that myself would step in and correct me if I am in error.

Here's the contention in question:

The second inaccuracy involved with the polling is the question as to whether or not the government should step in to counteract the courts' decisions and save her life. Does anyone see the problem there? How about the fact that our government (state and federal) is composed of three (count 'em, three) branches. Those would be (in the order in which they are found in the US Constitution): the Legislative, the Executive, and the Judicial. So, the government was involved in this case way, way before you or I had ever heard of it, let alone before the US Congress stepped in. So why should the Congress, President or even the Governor not have the power to impose a check (or even a balance) on the Judicial branch? As a matter of fact, they have every right to do exactly that (see point 3a).
To that, dopderbeck left a comment that, I think, confirms my opinion that there is a great deal of misinformation and misunderstanding out there concerning this case. His comment opened with this:

I share a few of your sentiments, but you have it wrong about Congress and the courts. Nothing in the Constitution suggests that Congress can overrule the factual findings of a state court.
I honestly do not know whether or not the Congress can, in fact, Constitutionally "overrule the factual findings of a state court". I know that at least one branch of the Federal Government can. Regardless, I cannot find any evidence that Congress attempted to "overrule" anyone. Here's what they actually said:

Any parent of Theresa Marie Schiavo shall have standing to bring a suit under this Act. The suit may be brought against any other person who was a party to State court proceedings relating to the withholding or withdrawal of food, fluids, or medical treatment necessary to sustain the life of Theresa Marie Schiavo, or who may act pursuant to a State court order authorizing or directing the withholding or withdrawal of food, fluids, or medical treatment necessary to sustain her life. In such a suit, the District Court shall determine de novo any claim of a violation of any right of Theresa Marie Schiavo within the scope of this Act, notwithstanding any prior State court determination and regardless of whether such a claim has previously been raised, considered, or decided in State court proceedings. The District Court shall entertain and determine the suit without any delay or abstention in favor of State court proceedings, and regardless of whether remedies available in the State courts have been exhausted. (emphasis mine)
My reading of this Act is that Congress said: We want the courts to go back and start from the beginning so that we can be sure that we have determined her true wishes to the best of our ability.

The reason this de novo establishment of fact was so important (although ultimately ignored and not carried out) is that there had been no such determination had been carried out in a very long time and, from what I understand, new information had come to light (e.g., this affidavit).

So in the end it appears that Congress did not overstep its bounds while a judge did by ignoring a duly passed law. Would the law have been struck down by a court if there had been time? Maybe. But if it had the result would have been the same: Terri would be just as dead. On the other hand, had the any judge honored his/her duty to impartially interpret the Law, maybe we could have gotten closer to the truth before condemning an innocent woman to death.


Don't Let Me Stop You has a good post on the topic. And as they link in their post, definitely read this piece.


Tuesday, April 12, 2005


Terri Schiavo

I received an email last night kindly prodding me to not fall into the short attention span trap that I, from time to time, accuse others of. So I'll ask, what every happened to the Terri Schiavo story?

Typing "Terri Schiavo" into the Google News engine produces any number of recent articles and Op/Ed pieces from around the country, but you'll notice that the national media has generally dropped the story. After all, they've got more important things to bombard us with...like whether Michael Jackson, in addition to being a generally disturbing individual, is or is not a child molester.

Her is the short list of things the bother me about Terri's case now that she has died:

1) A woman was starved to death on the strength of a) her husband's belated recollection, in the absence of any documentation (and in the presence of the official possibility that he may have a conflict of interest (see page 8) in the case), that she would have wanted to be starved to death and b) the diagnosis of a doctor who has a proven track record of, shall we say, imperfection identifying persistent vegetative state (with the emphasis on persistent).

2) Judge Greer's 1998 ruling that Terri's feeding tube could be removed was inconsistent with a previous ruling of his in a very similar case. In that case a man was found to be in a persistent vegetative state and there was a living will indicating that he would not want to be kept alive in that state. His wife asked that she be allowed to keep him alive in order to try alternative therapies and the judge agreed with total disregard for his legally stated wishes.*

3a) Poll after poll indicates that a majority of Americans believe that Congress overstepped its bounds when it tried to intercede. Slanted polling questions aside, the fact is that Congress has power over the courts in a very clear and straightforward manner both through the Judicial Act of 1789 and within the very text of the Constitution itself (and I'm not just making this up). So, Congress certainly does have the right to oversee the Courts and, when they deem it appropriate, to pass laws telling the Courts to shape up or ship out. Unfortunately, the current Congress doesn't have the guts to carry through on that promise (although some at least say the do).

3b) Many of the polling questions include (at least) two inaccuracies. First, polling companies refer to Terri Schiavo being on "life support". While a feeding tube certainly qualifies as such in a literal sense, such a tube is not what the term conjures in the mind. Rather, "life support" makes one think of ventilators, central lines, beeping BP monitors and all that. Misleading is probably the most innocent explanation. The second inaccuracy involved with the polling is the question as to whether or not the government should step in to counteract the courts' decisions and save her life. Does anyone see the problem there? How about the fact that our government (state and federal) is composed of three (count 'em, three) branches. Those would be (in the order in which they are found in the US Constitution): the Legislative, the Executive, and the Judicial. So, the government was involved in this case way, way before you or I had ever heard of it, let alone before the US Congress stepped in. So why should the Congress, President or even the Governor not have the power to impose a check (or even a balance) on the Judicial branch? As a matter of fact, they have every right to do exactly that (see point 3a).

I suppose I could continue for a while, but I will leave you with on closing thought in anticipation of a counter argument. One might very well say that Michael Schiavo is not a dirtbag who, while siring children with another women and Living in Open Adultry (a misdemeanor of the second degree, by the way), insisted that his wife be killed for the malpractice settlement money. After all, he did try all sorts of medical procedures and therapies for the first few years to, apparently, no avail. It was only after medicine had failed and he saw that there was no hope did he let it be known that Terri would have wanted to die.

To that I would say that had he made no attempt at helping her early on I would have never heard of this case since he would have been stripped of his guardianship for obvious reasons. Further, the simple fact that many/all medical procedures had been tried has absolutely no bearing on this case. There has been a lot of misdirection concerning the important issues. People (cough-the media-cough) have labeled this a "Right to Die" case. Um, no. No one was disputing anyone's right to choose death if suddenly thrust into a PVS. Rather, the true argument was (or should have been) what was Terri's actual wish. From what I can tell, we have only Michael’s word on that subject...and I'm sorry...but even the suggestion of a conflict of interest (i.e., he was going to 3/4s of a million bucks when she died) should have prevented him from making the call. Had he been willing to give up the money, maybe we could have talked...but he didn't.

In the end it's a horribly sad case and I hope for two outcomes. The first is that there should be some sort of retribution against the members of the judicial branch who actively sentenced Terri to death. The second is slightly more upbeat and optimistic...in its own way. That is that I hope each one of you will take this case to heart and do was is necessary to insure that you never put your family in such a horrible situation. So please, make you wishes known in a legal format (living will, durable power of attorney, etc.), tell members of your family.


*I read this last night and lost the url. If anyone has it please send it along.


Gun (Out Of) Control

So, banning guns stops gun crime and makes everyone safer, huh?

Police fear gun crime explosion

Teenage gun crime in London is in danger of surging out of control, police fear.

Scotland Yard chiefs are concerned that a younger, more "chaotic" generation of firearms offenders is emerging.
Detective Chief Superintendent John Coles, head of Scotland Yard's Trident offensive which targets guns in the black community, said: "There may be a burst of gun crime on the streets of London that we may not be able to get a hold on for five years."
So, in these five years how many innocent, unarmed, people will be murdered by bad guys with illegal guns? I guess I just cannot comprehend the mentality that prohibiting law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves makes anyone safer. But I guess that's just me.


Homespun Symposium XVIII

This week's question comes from Patterico:

How has blogging affected your life?

Simple enough question, and for that I thank you Patterico =).

Although I've been blogging for close to a year now, I must admit that reading other people's blogs has probably affected my life more than my own efforts. It will have now been said 1,000,001 times but...bloggers continue to make a huge impact on the way information is not only disseminated but also gathered and analyzed to the point that news services and their personnel are increasingly forced to be honest or pay the consequences (a la Dan Rather). That has lead to what is probably the biggest effect of blogs on my life, I now have an aggregate source for news and opinion that is not filtered through the prism of news desks, editors, et al. I can now find information that has been filtered through many individuals, with the eventual effect of finding something that might actually resemble the truth. Not a perfect system, but a heck of a lot better than when there were three talking heads and a few newspapers from which all news flowed.

My own blogging has had at least three effects, two on my blood pressure and a third on my personal relationships. In the short term blogging has a tendency to raise my BP as I tend to get a little worked up by the various and sundry outrageousness going on in the world on a daily basis. The long-term effect of blogging on my BP is, however, a therapeutic one. By giving me a public outlet my blog has let me get things off my chest that would otherwise build up and eventually lead to a relatively messy scene. Along the same vein (ouch, sorry), my personal relationships have likely benefited from blogging. As with the long term therapeutic effect on my BP, the outlet of MuD&PHuD has allowed my friends to be spared the serious ear-bending that would likely be otherwise necessary to avoid the aforementioned messy scene of my chest exploding from unexpressed opinions.

So my advice to everyone out there is start a blog and apply at whatever dose you find therapeutic. Who knows, maybe you'll get an Instalaunch and end up devoting double-digit hours every week to feeding the machine (not me). Or, maybe you'll labor in obscurity satisfying your thirst to be heard within a small subset of the blogosphere (me). Either way, pull a chair up to the keyboard and let loose.


Friday, April 08, 2005


Shooting Fish In A Barrel

So, will someone please tell me how the restrictive gun laws in Maryland and Delaware (the former worse than the latter) helped protect any of the innocent people killed by this dirtbag?

SALISBURY, Md. -- Two people were killed and four others were wounded Thursday during a 45-minute shooting spree that began in Delaware and ended in Maryland.

Police said there were a dozen shooting scenes.
How many more people have to die before we wake up and realize that the cops are not only not required to protect us, but couldn't even if they were required to by law?


Wednesday, April 06, 2005


Registration of...

You fill in the blank. Any time the government makes you register for any purpose that information can be used against you...legally or illegally. In this case a(n allegedly) fat police chief illegally accessed a woman's personal information to obtain her address. Why? So he could write her a nasty letter in retaliation for her calling him fat. First of all, the fact he put anything like that in writing is so far beyond stupid that he should not be allowed to carry a pen, much less a badge and gun. Secondly, this woman is exactly right:

"I thought I was exercising my First Amendment right of free speech -- expressing an opinion in an open forum about a paid public official."
Of course, the law provides for punishment of invasions of privacy such as these:

Violators of the driver's privacy act can be sued in U.S. District Court for damages of at least $2,500, punitive damages, attorney's fees and all other relief the court determines to be appropriate.
I know that legal punishments always make people feel safe...but they do absolutely nothing to actually protect you, your privacy or anything else. The only thing that punishments do is, well, punish those to break the law. Anyone ever seen In the Line of Fire? Remember John Malkovich's character's claim about doing bad things to a certain well-protected individual? All that's required to break the law is someone with the will to accept the consequences.

So remember, lawful retribution is great but if a really bad guy gets a hold of your personal information it just might take the rest of your life for help to arrive...literally.


Drudge vs. Everybody

I was just reading this NY Observer thing and an old thought was resurrected. I've watched a number of conservative commentators rise to national prominence and, literally at the same time, a number of liberal counterparts try to match them, fail, and fade rather quickly into oblivion...or at least back to whence they started. The Conservatives I'm thinking of are Rush and Hannity on the radio, Hannity and O'Reilly on TV and Matt Drudge on the internet. I honestly don't know the Liberal side as well, but there have been a number of would-be Rush competitors (including Rudolph Giuliani) who have not fared well. The common denominator of the successful Conservative commentators is that they rose to prominence by virtue of being selected for their skills as commentators. Those on the Left, in contrast, seem to be selected for such commentator slots based on previous (and almost always unrelated) stardom.

Consider the lineup on Air America. The headliner is Al Franken who first gained notoriety as a writer for Saturday Night Live and then as a comedian (or maybe vice versa, it doesn't matter). Then we've got Janeane Garofalo whose biggest contribution to the political commentary scene prior to getting a gig at AA was via her comedy. There are, of course, previously successful hosts at AA (Randi Rhodes, I believe, and I'm sure others)...but the point stands: Liberals seem to pick their political commentators based on their notoriety in some other field.

Then we've got the lack of originality. Let's see...The O'Franken Factor. Ah yes, very original. And who could forget the titles of Franken's books: Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right and Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot. Ah yes, way to stand on your own two feet.

Anyway, the reason I'm bringing all this up is that there is a new effort to counteract Matt Drudge by some Hollywood Liberals. Apparently there will soon be some "liberal all-stars who will "group blog" on a Web site to be launched next month by columnist Arianna Huffington." Who are these "all-stars" you ask? Slated to contribute to this so-called "group blog" are: Senator Jon Corzine, David Geffen, Viacom co-chief Tom Freston, Barry Diller, Tina Brown and Gwyneth Paltrow. I'm sure they are all very intelligent people (well, some of them might be) but the question is, Why should I listen to any of them? There is one reason and one reason only...they are being packaged and presented to the public as qualified based on expertise outside the world of political commentary. Certainly they might be successful and I wish them all the luck in the world...though I disagree with every word you say and all that jazz.

The two different 'strategies' really mirror the two opposing philosophies. Liberals want top-down control. They want to engineer everything when it comes to the government, and so when they are acting in the private sector they do exactly the same thing. Conservatives, on the other hand, tend to believe in the Market and 'bottom-up' control and so do what they can, as individuals, to be successful. The reason Conservatives have been so successful in radio is simply that there is an audience for them. Couple that to the fact that the medium is very competitive and it’s relatively easy to switch out one host for another if ratings are bad and you have a recipe for Conservative commentator success. Believe me, no radio station is taking a loss to keep Rush on the air because of some ideological bent. If Al Franken could talk 3 hours a day, 5 days a week and draw a bigger audience (and more advertising dollars) he would be on instead of Rush.

In the same vein, Drudge has become astoundingly successful in the purest of the pure free markets: the Internet. Trying to compete with him based on celebrity in other areas of life will certainly attract some traffic. Just don't expect to see The Huffington Report get a million hits on April 6th, 2015.


Friday, April 01, 2005



Well, it looks like Sandy Berger did it after all:

[W]ASHINGTON, March 31 - Samuel R. Berger, a national security adviser to President Bill Clinton, has agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge and give up his security clearance for three years for removing classified material from a government archive, the Justice Department and associates of Mr. Berger's said Thursday.
When the issue surfaced last year, Mr. Berger insisted that he had removed the classified material inadvertently. But in the plea agreement reached with prosecutors, he is expected to admit that he intentionally removed copies of five classified documents, destroyed three and misled staff members at the National Archives when confronted about it, according to an associate of Mr. Berger's who is involved in his defense but who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the plea has not been formalized in court.
Now let's see...do you think we'll see anyone in the media comparing the 'punishment' of Mr. Berger with that of, say, Martha Stewart? Humm...Martha lied about $$ to federal investigators and spent some time in jail. Sandy Berger removed classified documents from the National Archives and consequently will give up his security clearance (duh) and pay a $10,000 fine. Doesn't seem quite fair, now does it? Maybe he's just got better friends.


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