Precinct 333

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Predictions For 2005

Alright folks, here they are. I, the all-knowing and all-seeing Precinct Chair, present to you my predictions for the Year of Our Lord 2005.

1. At least one more state will legalize gay marriages, while at least five will ban them. I don't think California will be the one, rather I suspect that the Minnesota courts will do the deed. And Texas will most assuredly be one of those which formally outlaws such marriages through a constitutional amendment. My longshot prediction in this regard is that a federal court, probably somewhere in the Ninth Circuit, will declare that gay marriage bans contradict the Equal Protection Clause, leading to new momentum for a Federal Marriage Amendment.

2) Chief Justice Rehnquist will submit his resignation, likely on January 21, to be effective upon the confirmation of his replacement. While much speculation will center upon the elevation of Justice Thomas to the center seat, it will not happen. He will instead seek to move Scalia to the Chief Justice position, and will nominate a sitting state supreme court justice to the high court. My longshot prediction is that the appointee will be California Justice Janice Rogers Brown, whose appointment to the DC Circuit has been blocked by the use of parliamentary tactics by the Democrats.

3) Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle will prove the old adage that a prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich if he wants it to. The ham sandwich in this case will be Tom DeLay, and it will come close to the end of the year, shortly before DeLay has to file for the 2006 primary. Facing the potential for a strong primary challenge and a trial during the fall election campaign, DeLay will announce his decision not to run for reelection. My longshot prediction has the Texas Legislature stripping the Travis County DA of its authority to investigate breaches of ethics laws, and invest that power in the office of the Texas Attorney General , where it rightly and logically belongs.

4) Hillary Clinton will announce her candidacy for reelection to the Senate, promising not to seek the Democrat presidential nomination and to serve out her term. Few observers of American politics will believe her. My longshot prediction is that early polls will show her locked neck-and-neck with George Pataki, but defeating Rudy Giuliani.

5) This year will see the death of Pope John Paul II. His successor will be a conservative cardinal, who will continue to follow the course set by the current pontiff. He will not be a European. My longshot prediction is that he will not take the name John Paul III. My even longer shot prediction is that he will select either Leo or Benedict.

I asked my darling wife, who views the world through a very different set of lenses, to give me her five predictions. Her response was... interesting, and truly not intended to mock the suffering of those touched by natural disasters.
I only have one to share with you. The hurricanes... the tsunamis... Goob as president. I figure when the rapture comes and all of you people are still here you'll say "Shit! We were on the wrong side."

Uh... yeah. We'll see who is right a year from now.


Friday, December 31, 2004

Governor Kinky?

No, not Jim McGreevey. Not Arnold, either.

Kinky Friedman is running for Governor of Texas!

Why Not Kinky? Sticker

Why? you ask. "Why the hell not?" Friedman replies, echoing the campaign slogan bannered atop his Web site.
Why the Hell Not sticker

"I'm an independent, which is the party of George Washington, Teddy Roosevelt, Sam Houston and Davy Crockett," Friedman said in a phone interview from his ranch. "Voting for a Democrat or a Republican is like choosing between paper and plastic."

In one breath, Friedman sounds every bit as earnest as Jesse Ventura, the ex-wrestler who was elected governor of Minnesota as a Reform Party candidate in 1998, or Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Republican actor who became California's governor in a free-for-all recall election last year.

Well, not quite true. TR was a Republican, and I believe Crockett and Houston were Democrats, though I could be mistaken.

Jewish Cowboy sticker Blue

Friedman says he is for legalizing casino gambling in Texas to help fund public education. He wants a thorough review of the death penalty to make sure innocent inmates aren't being put to death.

He would ban the declawing of cats on grounds that it's inhumane, and end political correctness on grounds that it has wrought an era of "wussification" in Texas. He blames big money for corrupting politics and will try to limit his own spending campaign spending.

"Last time (in the 2002 governor's race), Rick Perry and Tony Sanchez ended up spending $100 million trying to help us decide who we hated the least," Friedman said, referring to the Republican who won and the Democratic who didn't.

In the next breath, the one-time front man for the Texas Jewboys who penned such cult country classics as Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in the Bed and They Ain't Makin' Jews Like Jesus Anymore sounds like he is riffing between sets at the Broken Spoke saloon in Austin.

Asked about the line in his January 2005 column in Texas Monthly where he suggests that as governor he might invade Oklahoma, Friedman offered a deadpan reply that gave no hint of whether he really would order troops across the Red River.

"I hope it doesn't come to that," he said. "I hope that a war with Oklahoma can be avoided."

He Aint Kinky Sticker

Mainstream party operatives are keeping a watchful eye on Friedman's boomlet, not wanting to fire back at his barbs for fear of being seen as mean-spirited or humorless, and not wanting to alienate a potential constituency in the event that the singer bows out.

"Gov, Perry believes that the political arena should be open to all comers and all ideas," said Robert Black, a press aide to the Republican incumbent who plans to seek re-election.

Kelly Fero, a Democrat, said a Friedman candidacy would energize the race and become a net plus for his side, regardless who the party nominates.

"The Kinkster will be just one more candidate beating up on Rick Perry, or whoever the Republicans vote for in '06," said Fero, pointing out that U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and state Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn are considering challenging Perry in the GOP primary.

Friedman, a University of Texas at Austin graduate who was born in Chicago, dismissed both observations as self-serving pabulum from the political pros.

"The professionals gave us the Titanic, amateurs gave us the Ark," he said. "Career politicians are ribbon cutters. They see the governor's office as a job. I see it as an opportunity to make that Lone Star shine again."

Given what we're facing in 2006, a Kinky candidacy may be very attractive to a lot of voters. Whoever emerges from the GOP primary will be pretty chewed up, while the Democrats have no one other than Sanchez who has publicly expressed interest in being the 2006 sacrificial lamb. If Kinky Friedman can offer a coherent platform that resonates with Texas voters, he could emerge as the winner.


Serious Discrepancies In King County Vote

Gee -- why isn't Jesse Jackson protesting THIS election fraud?
The day after King County released a list of nearly 900,000 voters who cast ballots Nov. 2, Republicans prodded election officials to explain why the list appeared to have about 3,500 fewer names than the number of votes that were actually tallied.

In a response that all but said, "Settle down!" county officials stressed the list was preliminary, noting that records of voters who cast certain write-in ballots and people who wanted their addresses kept confidential still had to be reconciled with election data.

More votes than voters? Sounds like fraud to me. And that King County response sounds like an attempt to stall for time to fabricate records.

And what is this "wanted their addresses kept confidential" garbage? That thwarts teh ability of the public to verify that all voters are legal voters.

No wonder Rossi won't concede -- the only rational view of this election is that he won and the pro-Gregoire forces in King County stole it.


Thursday, December 30, 2004

Why Couples Don't Adopt American Children

My wife and I want to adopt, her health permitting. But stories like this make us think twice, since we lack the means to do a foreign adoption.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- For almost four years, Dawn and Gene Scott have doted over their boy Evan, treating him like a little prince, indulging his love of Hot Wheels and ham sandwiches.

But because their adoption was never finalized, a judge says the Scotts have to return Evan to his biological mother, whom he has never lived with, in a child-custody case involving three families and nine judges.

If that was all I knew, I would be appalled. But it gets worse.
The Scotts are devastated at the strange turn of events tearing their son from their arms.

About four years ago, the Scotts met Amanda Hopkins, an unwed mother, who agreed to a private adoption during the final weeks of her pregnancy.

The Scotts watched Evan's birth, on May 5, 2001.

"We thought he was such a blessing," she said. "His name, Evan, means gift from God and young warrior."

Evan was placed with the Scotts two days later and an adoption petition was filed two days after that.

The petition stated the Scotts had consent of the baby's biological mother. The consent of the child's father, Steven White Jr., was not needed, the petition said, because he had not established his paternity through a court proceeding, had not acknowledged he was the child's' father and had not filed an acknowledgment with the Office of Vital Statistics. In addition, he had not provided any support to the mother or the child.

Hopkins and White never married, and she did not learn she was pregnant until she sought medical treatment for injuries suffered when she was assaulted by White in the residence they once shared, court documents show.

The adoption was supposed to become final on Aug. 22, 2001.

But just a month before that, White filed a motion demanding immediate custody of Evan.

The Scotts claimed White should not be able to block the adoption, but a judge disagreed.

Hopkins supported the Scotts' adoption of Evan as late as August, until it appeared the court might grant White custody.

Pniewski said she doesn't know why Hopkins, who is now married to a sailor in Illinois and has a 19-month-old baby, now wants to scuttle the adoption by the Scotts.

So an abusive uninvolved sperm-donor wants custody. Should be simple as all get out -- NO! You waited too long under the law and you are not a fit parent.

And then, when the courts start making moves to grant him custody, the mother who gave up the child and supported the adoption decides to play "screw daddy" and demands custody.

And in the mean time, the only parents this child have ever known are left out in the cold, despite the clear fact that allowing the adoption to proceed is the only option that is in the best interests of the child.
Debbie Grabarkiewicz, director of case advocacy for Hear My Voice, a child advocacy organization, said that outside of the Scotts, no one in the case has considered what is in the best interest of Evan, which she says is to remain with the Scotts.

"The system failed Evan in this one," she said. "He is bonded to that family."

Hopefully the appeals court will get this one right. And then the legislatures can fix adoption law in this country to prevent such travesties in the future.


All He Lacks Is Evidence

Why didn't Jesse Jackson just slink off into a dark corner after he fathered his illegitimate child and funded the secrecy with charitible donations? Why does he have any remaining credibility?
Q: If the election were held again with these alleged problems solved, would Kerry win?

A: Of course I think that. If we deal with the anomalies, a fair random count, the urban-suppressed vote, Kerry would get at least 60,000 more votes. At least! I believe that. I don’t know that.

In other words, based upon your unsubstantiated belief we are supposed to overturn the results of an election?

Sit down. Shut up. Your 15 minutes were over long ago.

But then again, what do you expect of a man whose whole career is based upon his lie about the dying martin luther King and blood he wiped off the handrail after the assassination?


Labour Repression Of Political Opponents?

A reporter dares to ask the right questions of the Blair government about its crackdown on so-called "hate speech" by its opponents. And while I realize that the British National party is not the nicest bunch in UK politics, I think this is rather important
In the middle of December last year [n.b -- 2004], five police officers turned up at the Welsh home of Nick Griffin, leader of the British National party, and arrested him on suspicion of inciting racial hatred.

Griffin was driven to Halifax police station and forced to watch three hours’ worth of his own speeches, which the police had surreptitiously recorded. He was then released without charge, bailed and told to reappear on 2 March this year [n.b. -- 2005] precisely at the time campaigning is expected to begin for the next general election. Mr Griffin is standing against David Blunkett, in Sheffield Brightside.

Interestingly enough, though, the police were unable to point to a single statemnt that, by itself consitituted an offense -- they instead stated that it was the "totality" of the speeches that constituted hate speech. A police team had spent "five days a week, ten hours per day" investigating this offense that consisted of speech only, to the exclusion of investigation of actual crimes like robbery or assaults.

Spectator reporter Rod Liddle got interested in the case because he had been looking into new laws proposed to prohibit "incitement of religious hatred," a crime that was apparantly intended to protect Muslims from being made uncomfortable by criticism of Islam. He asked the British Home Office for clarification on what sort of speech would be offended.
I tried to find out from the Home Office what would constitute an offence under the new Act and nobody could tell me: they haven’t got a clue. I asked loads of times. And then, on 8 December, a Home Office press officer said to me the following:

‘It’s all about context. If you wrote something in your column about Islam, the Crown Prosecution Service might not be interested, but if the same thing was said by Nick Griffin in a pub in Bradford, they might well be.’

Four days latter, Griffin was arrested -- for speeches in pubs criticizing Islam. A coincidence? Yes, according to Home Office spokespeople. But not according to West Yorkshire police.
That’s not quite what West Yorkshire police say officially, however. In a written statement to me (their press officers are incapable of speech, I think) they said the following: ‘West Yorkshire police has worked closely with the Crown Prosecution Service throughout this inquiry. The Home Office has had no part in the direction and control of this inquiry, which is the responsibility of the chief constable. However, both Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies and Home Office officials have been kept apprised of the progress of the inquiry.’

This is, to my mind, a direct contradiction of what the Home Office told me. What do you think?

Now nobody wants to comment publicly on this investigation. Official police sources are silent. The magistrate who signed the warrant, Valerie Parnham, won't speak at all.
Then a timorous Mrs Parnham came on the telephone. ‘I can’t say anything about this. I could get into trouble.’

Well, I just wanted to know if you were happy to sign the arrest warrant, I said, as plaintively as possible.

‘(Long pause) I can’t say anything about this. I’m sorry.’

Why the reticence in the face of an arrest of a criminal? Or is it that everyone knows that Griffin has committed no crime, and theat this is simply a political persecution in the run-up to an election in which Blair needs to hold onto Labour's overwhelming share of the British Muslim vote?

nd there is the larger question.
And there is the broader, more general philosophical point: as an indirect result of the War on Terror, our freedom to say what we believe is being swiftly eroded. It’s not just the Muslims who want people silenced or banged up: the Sikhs have been getting in on the act too, forcing a play which was critical of their religion to close. On the day it closed the Sikhs got support from a particularly fatuous spokesman for the Archbishop of Birmingham. He said that people should be free to criticise religion if they did so ‘responsibly’. What a pompous ass. Surely it would be better if God, rather than the West Yorkshire police or the Sikhs or Muslim community leaders, decided what constituted responsible criticism — and delivered His terrible judgment in that black nanosecond after we have drawn our terminal breath. Otherwise the law courts are going to be full for a while to come.

More to the point -- is it the death of free speech in Great Britain?


Go Look At the Picture

Look at the guy in the background, and the lovely shirt he's wearing.

But we'll help these people anyway. One more way the US is morally superior to the scum we fight.


Fighting The Excesses Of "Diversity"

The concept of "diversity" is usually used by liberal "progressives" to promote their agenda, not the acceptance of all people and all viewpoints.
A pink triangle would be accepted in most Anoka-Hennepin classrooms. A cross simply would not - separation of church and state, of course.

Not allowing one over the other is prejudicial and attempts to apply labels to groups of people, such as “homophobes,” “right-wing Christians” – essentially what Brian Tommerdahl likes to call “diversity double-speak.”

Tommerdahl, a member of Anoka-Hennepin’s Diversity Committee and a self-proclaimed proponent of what he refers to as “intellectual diversity” or “natural diversity,” has been waging a six- to eight-year struggle to get educators in Anoka-Hennepin to take a different look at the way they approach the subject.

“This is the problem I have with diversity,” he said. “What road are we going to take? Should we not be promoting tolerance for all perspectives?”

If such diversity training were really about respect for diversity, the answer would obviously be a resounding "YES!" But that isn't the goal, as witnessed by the actions of this school district -- actions that are repeated throughout the nation on a daily basis. It's goal is to label some as privileged, and therefore to be despised and reviled, while the non-privileged are to be exalted and promoted.
One of the most troubling developments in Anoka-Hennepin, according to Tommerdahl, is the proposal espoused in last week’s diversity series story by Eric Moore, director of diversity and student services in District 11, to form a hate speech committee to determine what should be considered hate speech and what should not.

“Who’s going to interpret things as hate speech?” he asked. “Who is going to determine that?”

A case in point to which Tommerdahl points is when he held up a decal at a diversity forum that read, “Defend Marriage,” and the pictorial of man and a woman only as married.

“I held it up, and I was basically attacked,” Tommerdahl said.

Almost everyone at the forum agreed that it was a form of hate speech, but when Tommerdahl cited instances of posters being placed at Blaine High School, reading, “Stop Homophobia – End Hate,” Moore denied that the posters even existed, according to Tommerdahl.

Through a series of digital photographs, Tommerdahl proved that the posters existed at Blaine High School, he said.

At another staff development forum, Tommerdahl said he was told by those attending, “your religion promotes hate.”

Tommerdahl openly questions how discrimination based on someone’s religion can be tolerated in the Anoka-Hennepin School District.

He said a multi-perspective is needed in discussing the issue of marriage, both in terms of a legal contract and as the union between a man and a woman under the eyes of God.

Separation of church, Tommerdahl said, has nothing to do with the topic if both perspectives are given and if the subject is brought up in the context of a political or moral discussion.

One view is therefore to be presented as acceptable, while genuinely diverse views are to be presented as hateful and not open for discussion. Schools therefore seek to actively undermine the teaching authority of the families and religions of district students. The district even went so far as bringing in a speaker to directly attack Judaism and Christianity. Only that viewpoint was permitted at the function -- those with other beliefs were not even permitted to distribute literature, much less present a dissenting point of view.
Yet, Tommerdahl remains deeply troubled that, from his vantage point, Anoka-Hennepin explores diversity from only one perspective and even goes as far to invite guest speakers to staff development workshops espousing the belief that Christianity is oppressing people who don’t agree with it.

At a recent staff development workshop, for example, he said representatives of Outfront Minnesota and District 202 were allowed to distribute literature about their resources, but local pastors were not allowed to distribute literature from such groups as Exodus International and Eagles Wings.

Christine Sleeter, a pro-diversity advocate in favor of labeling people and not finding the commonality in all people, according to Tommerdahl, was allowed to speak but there were no representatives from divergent viewpoints.

“We must diminish the American-Christian Judeo thinking and dominance and progress toward a view promoting and supporting a world community,” Sleeter was quoted as saying, according to Tommerdahl. “Children can be our advocates.”

In other words, the school seeks to turn students into little activists -- not educate kids.

That's one more reason that I'm glad that I don't teach in one of these socialist hellholes. If a speaker like the one above showed up at our staff development, at least half of my fellow faculty members would walk out, and the administrator responsible for the booking would be disciplined, if not fired.

Parents -- keep an eye on what goes on at your local schools, especially when it comes to promoting "diversity." That may mean acceptance for everyone but you.


What Sort Of Scum Do This?

This local story caught my eye. Thieves have stolen toys donated for needy kids.

A Grinch has already stolen next Christmas.

Police said thieves broke into an Alvin mini-storage unit and made away with about $10,000 worth of toys — about 400 already-wrapped presents — that a Manvel-based charity was saving to distribute to poor families next Christmas.

Project Love — Santa's Angels is a local group that provides Christmas for kids. They had received generous donations this year, and had saved some of the excess to get started on next year's effort.

I realize many of you are much more concerned about the earthquake and tsunami, and rightly so. But if you feel moved by this story, you can visit this group's website at this link.


The Cause Of Gray Hair?

As I've been graying (and balding) over the last several years, I've often wondered why hair color changes.

Scientists looking for a cure for skin cancer have stumbled on something else: the reason why hair turns gray.

It turns out that one of the most common signs of aging occurs because of the death of stem cells that spawn the pigment-manufacturing cells called melanocytes, the scientists said. As the supply of new pigment is cut off, hair turns gray.

And here I thought the cause might be teenagers -- in particular those in my last class of the day.


Wednesday, December 29, 2004

A Situation I Encounter All Too Often

As a high school teacher (10th grade World History),I see too many babies having babies. And I've seen too many of these little girls who are married or who get married.
In its most forgiving outline, the love story of Liset and James Landeros has the ring of a fairy tale.

Liset and James fell in love. They defied their parents - and the law - to follow their hearts. And after many struggles and trials, they finally married.

But one harsh detail - their ages - belies this romantic formula. A slight, quiet girl with coffee-colored eyes, Liset was only 12 when she began dating James, four years her senior. At 13 she was pregnant and miscarried her first baby. At age 14 she married James to keep him out of jail; the state of Texas was threatening to charge him with the statutory rape of a minor.

Frankly, the law needs to be changed to allow for the charges to be filed regardless of whether or not the couple later marries. And at least this couple sort of tried to do the right thing.

I mean, its amazing. I've seen too many girls with boyfriends in their twenties. Last year I even had a 16-year-old girl who wasn't sure if the father of her unborn child was her 21-year-old boyfriend, the married 26-year-old in the apartment next door, or the 31-year-old married guy upstairs. Mama's response? "It doesn't matter. It will just be wonderful to have another baby in the house, now that your little brother is in pre-school!"

There is a common thread that flows through most of the cases like this that I see. The story notes this same factor.
Immigration from developing countries where the practice is the norm, particularly Latin America, may be boosting the number of underage wives in the United States.

According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, young girls of Latino descent are bucking a historic national downward trend in teen pregnancy.

One study released in March by the Mid-America Institute on Poverty in Illinois shows that the birthrate for Latinas age 10 to 19 in that state actually grew by 18 percent in the past decade, while birthrates for all other ethnic groups declined.

"We get a steady influx of people from Mexico, and they bring certain traditions with them," says Maria Socorro Pesqueira, the executive director of Latina Women in Action, an outreach organization in Chicago. "There are quinceanera (coming-of-age) parties for 15-year-old girls that send the signal: Hey, you're a lady now and ready to move on in life."

Does a commitment to "cultural diversity" mean we have to accept such an attitude?


A Reflection On The Indian Ocean Catastrophe

I’ve spent the last few days watching with horror the developments following the Indian Ocean earthquake and resulting tsunamis. Reports now put the dead at over 100,000, and I personally expect that number to double, or even triple, by the time the injured die and those effected by disease and the deprivation of food, clean water, medication, and shelter are factored in. I cannot comprehend such loss of life, and have been searching for an answer to the question, “Why?”

I don’t have one.

That’s not to say I have none. Rather, I have several.

I could accept the notion that many have proposed, namely that God made it happen. There are certainly biblical precedents for such events, most notably the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, or Noah and the ark. Yet God promised never to turn loose a flood of such destructive power again, and surely the many nations touched by this tragedy had at least five good and holy people. Is God really the vengeful deity from “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” dangling us over the flames of Hell and waiting for us to fall if we do not repent our sins? This simply does not mesh with the understanding I have of God.

And yet I cannot accept the other side of that coin, either. I do not believe that some malign power, call him Satan if you will, did this either. For even if one accepts the notion that Satan has controlled the world since the Fall of Adam, there is randomness to this event that strikes me as unexplained. Why these people? Why this place? Why now? Satan is a tempter. Where is the temptation in this?

What of the naturalist theory, which denies a role for God in this event (or even his existence)? That is certainly easier, in that the forces at play here are impersonal. Unfortunately, that leaves us with nothing, a cosmic “Sh*t happens.” Is life just random chance? Are all our choices meaningless? That seems to contradict the knowledge of the divine that we have within our hearts.

For better or for worse, I am thrown back to a dichotomy I first heard many years ago. It explains to me how bad things can happen if God is a good God who loves us. It also helps deal with the issue raised by death – especially massive death on an unfathomable scale – without labeling God a murderer. It is the distinction between God’s sovereign will and God’s permissive will.

The idea here is that God actively ordains relatively little in this world. He instead permits the consequences of human choice – dating all the way back to Adam’s Fall – to play out. Mankind broke Creation, and continues to deform it, with every sinful act of disobedience to God and his law. In the first act of disobedience, mankind turned a peaceful order in which there was no pain and death into one in which those physical evils are reality. In an unbroken world, there would be no earthquakes, no tsunamis, and no death, disease, or hunger.

God could choose to stop all death, all tragedy, but he does not. He hopes that our choices and actions will draw us closer to him, but his gift of Free Will means that this is not always the case. Rather than preventing the earthquake and the wave, God permits us to respond to it in ways that may draw us to him or draw us away.

We can therefore align ourselves with God’s will in response to his call to act in a compassionate manner when confronted with suffering and misery, or we can reject that calling. We can, in our personal capacity, offer help to our brothers and sisters in response to that divine call, or we can sit back and let government do it for us, showing that our spoken faith has no works to back it up.

And those who died? What of them? I believe it was the German theologian Karl Rahner who proposed that in the instant of death God supernaturally allows us to be aware of the Gospel message one final time and offer our assent or rejection. I hope that is so, and that many of those who died knew or accepted Christ in those last moments of their lives. And I pray that this tragic event may become a means by which God’s love is communicated to many more throughout the world.

Places To Donate:
Lutheran World Relief
Baptist World Aid
Catholic Relief Services
Church World Service
Christian Reformed World Relief Committee
United Methodist Committee On Relief
Salvation Army
Operation Blessing
American Red Cross


Quote Of The Day

So why the attack on religion [by the Left]? Read the Declaration of Independence. You'll read phrases such as: "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights," "Laws of Nature and Nature's God," and "appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world." The vision held by the framers is that our rights come not from government but from a "Creator" or "the laws of nature and of nature's God." That means the purpose and power of government is rightfully limited to protecting our natural God-given rights.

The idea that government doesn't grant rights is offensive to those who wish to control our lives. Therefore, to gain greater control, the idea of natural rights, God-given rights and Christian values must be suppressed. The idea that rights precede government was John Locke's natural law philosophy, which had a significant influence on our nation's founders, but they chose to refer to natural law as rights endowed by the Creator.

Walter Williams, "Attacking Western Values"


Moron Alert!

Floyd Elliot glaimed to be the victim of a hate crime.
Floyd Elliot, 22, told police two subjects attacked him in a parking lot and tried to burn the word "FAG" into his chest and carve the same thing on his forehead.

Police initially investigated the incident as a hate crime but thought it seemed suspicious because the carving on his forehead was backwards, according to reports.

Yeah, unless he was attacked by dislexic gay-bashers, the letters "GAF" in his forehead were a dead giveaway.

By the way, note this little gem at the end of the article, which seems to contradict feminist dogma on sexual assault charges.
Detective George Parks with the Independence Police Department said officers occasionally get calls from victims who falsify reports.

"Usually when this does occur usually it's a female victim reporting a rape," Parks said.



India Rejects All Disaster Aid

America has offered $35 million in government aid, the EU $4.6 million, Isrrael has offered much in-kind and financial assistance and France has pledged $136,000. Other nations have promised help, and private organizations have swung into action, all in support of the relief effort in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami which has decimated Asia. One nation, though, claims it has the resources to deal with the crisis.
However, India has turned down all foreign aid because that nation claims it has "adequate resources" to provide relief, a government official said Wednesday.

India has been flooded with "generous offers of aid" from countries like Russia, the United States and Japan, a government official told the Agence France-Presse news service.

"In fact, all friendly nations have offered help, but we feel we do have the resources to handle the situation. If, at a later stage, we feel we need assistance, we will not hesitate to ask," said the source.

I find this interesting. How can a country that lacks the means to deal with its own crushing poverty be able to cope with a disaster like this?


It's a Great Job -- If You Can Get It

It's good to be the king!
A Moroccan magazine has taken the unprecedented step of publishing details of King Mohammed VI's salary.

The French-language magazine Tel Quel says the monarch earns less than a typical company director in the developed world, under $45,000 a month. The annual expenses of the royal court are said to be around $250m.

King Mohammed is noted for his attempts to modernize the country and his work to alleviate poverty in his nation have earned him the title of "guardian of the poor."


Israel Offers Tsunami Aid -- Sri Lanka Says No

If you can pick and choose the donors, do you really deserve the help at all?
Israel has cancelled plans to send a 150-person rescue mission to Sri Lanka after the devastated island objected to the military composition of the team.

The delegation - including 60 soldiers - had been due to set off on Tuesday to help after Sunday's tsunami disaster.

Instead, a smaller team will escort a convoy carrying emergency supplies, Israeli officials said.

Apparently the Sri Lankan military had an objection, despite the fact that the Israeli team was coming to set up mobile hospital facilities, including pediatric and internal medicine facilities.

But that hasn't stopped other Israeli generosity.
Humanitarian organisation Latet sent a jumbo jet carrying 18 metric tons of supplies to Colombo, medical teams have been dispatched to Thailand and help offered to India, Haaretz reported.

A rescue-and-recovery team from the Jewish ultra-Orthodox organisation Zaka left for the region on Monday with equipment used for identifying bodies, as well as body bags.

Israel's foreign ministry has set up a situation room for relatives to track down hundreds of Israelis on holiday in the tsunami zone, who have not yet made contact.

And the world's Arab and Muslim nations have done what, precisely?


Operation Anti-Stupid

Authorities in the Houston area will be trying to put a stop to the old custom of firing guns to celebrate the New Year. Some folks just point the barrel up and pull the trigger.
"Those lost bullets, stray bullets, can kill," said Houston police officer Joe Pennington. "One of the things the holidays does is bring out the best and the worst in folks — and one of the worst things we see is celebratory discharging of firearms."

Such gunfire has no target, but is usually aimed up in the sky — posing a significant danger to bystanders.

What goes up must come down, sometimes leading to tragic results, authorities say.

On New Year's Day 1997, a Harris County man who had fired celebratory shots at a backyard tree went inside his home to examine his gun when the weapon jammed. The gun discharged accidentally, killing his 7-year-old daughter. A grand jury declined to indict him.

That same night, a man was killed by a stray bullet from celebratory gunfire. The shooter also wasn't indicted.

In 1999, a stray bullet struck a pregnant woman in her shoulder as she watched fireworks north of downtown Houston. She survived.

Even if no one is hurt, you can still get a year in jail for the Class A misdemeanor.

So just don't do it.

Don't be stupid, dude.


Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Did I Miss The Repeal Of The First Amendment, Part II

The mayor of Atlanta is threatening a private country club with a $90,000 fine for refusing to grant the partners of gay members "family" status for membership purposes. The conflict betwee Mayor Shirley Franklin and the Druid Hills Golf Club is shapingup to be a serious legal battle.
"Atlanta has a very proud history of promoting and celebrating diversity," [Mayor Franklin] wrote in a Dec. 22 letter to club President Kent Smith. "Given the club's failure to address the issues internally, I am compelled to act."

Franklin said she is ordering the city solicitor to fine the club for up to 180 days — a maximum fine of $90,000 — unless it changes its benefits policy. Franklin did not specify in her letter when the fines would begin. She was out of town and could not be reached for comment Monday.

In a statement e-mailed to the golf club's 1,100 members, the Druid Hills board of directors said it will fight the fine.

"We continue to believe there is a legitimate and legally recognized distinction between 'spouse' and 'domestic partner' and our policies are non-discriminatory," the board wrote. "Equally important is our belief that the city ordinances that attempt to dictate the club's membership policies are invalid. Further, in our opinion the mayor has no jurisdiction to impose this fine."

The mayor's action seems to have been prompted by the urging of two politically connected gay members. Mayor Franklin, first elected in 2001 with strong support from the gay community, vowed to enforce and strengthen the city ordinance.

What I find interesting, though, is that a city which claims to be proud of its history of promoting and celebrating diversity is attempting to squelch the free association rights of a group which chooses to act diveresely. Once again we see that the liberal definition of "diversity" is everyone acting identically under threat of government sanctions.


Did I Miss The Repeal Of The First Amendment, Part I

Students at Arizona State University are fighting for recognition as a campus organization. They are seeking to form a chapter of the Christian Legal Society, which is a conservative Christina group that "interprets its statement of faith to require that officers adhere to orthodox Christian beliefs, including the Bible's prohibition of sexual contact between persons of the same sex."
"A person who engages in homosexual conduct or adheres to the viewpoint that homosexual conduct is not sinful would not be permitted to become a member or serve as an officer" of the group at Arizona State, the suit adds.

It goes on to say that a person who has engaged in homosexual acts but has "repented" or people who may have homosexual inclinations but do not act on those inclinations would be eligible for membership

Seems pretty simple to me. The group is founded for a specific purpose, with members voluntarily associating around a certain set of religious principles. Those who cannot or will not abide by those principles are not eligible for membership -- or leadership roles. This public university has no business attempting to make the group act otherwise.


Did The Earth Move?

Yes, apparantly it did -- if you live in Sumatra.

The magnitude 9.0 earthquake off Indonesia moved the island of Sumatra about 100 feet to the southwest, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

The earthquake occurred off Sumatra's northwestern tip in an active geological region and ruptured an estimated 600-mile-long stretch of the Earth beneath the Indian Ocean.



Gotta Love The Bigotry!

I won't even respond to the point Campos is trying to make -- the much more important issue is the extreme bigotry that he shows and the fact that his editors considered it acceptable for their newspaper.
What's the Matter With Kansas? tackles a related issue: How the Republican Party manages to hold together a coalition made up of, to put it as tactfully as possible, snake-handling fundie freaks and those who accept Milton Friedman as their personal lord and savior.

I'm curious -- would a description of the Democrat Party as a coalition made up of "d*ck-sucking homos and those whose living comes from sucking at the government teat" ever make it into the newspaper? If not, why not? And if not, why was Campos' equally offensive turn of phrase allowed?

Let's find out.
Editor -- John Temple
Editorial Page Editor -- Vincent Carroll

Letters to the Editor --

By the way, please note the sig-line at the bottom of the column.
Paul Campos is a professor of law at the University of Colorado. He can be reached at

I wonder what folks at the taxpayer-funded University of Colorado have to say about such bigotry, especially since he is using his taxpayer-funded university email address as part of his propagation of bigotry? Care to find out?

Richard L. Byyny, M.D., Chancellor of the University of Colorado
David Getches, Dean of the University of Colorado School of Law

Regents of the University of Colorado:

Mr. Jerry G. Rutledge, Chair
Ms. Gail Schwartz, Vice Chair
Dr. Peter Steinhauer (D.D.S.)
Ms. Cindy Carlisle
Ms. Patricia Hayes
Ms. Susan C. Kirk
Mr. Tom Lucero
Mr. Jim Martin
Mr. Paul Schauer
Milagros "Millie" Cortez, Secretary of the University and of the Board of Regents


Monday, December 27, 2004

Sex And Drug Offenders Are Nurses

Whenever I apply for a teaching job, there are background checks and a host of other investigations that must be run before I can be hired -- and I am required to pay for them by some districts. That's why this news story angers me so deeply.
Scores of licensed nurses in Texas are convicted drug and sex offenders, and some of them are working in violation of state law, a newspaper investigation has found.

An analysis by The Dallas Morning News found that 57 licensed Texas nurses are felony sex offenders, including 31 who are listed in the state sex-offender registry. About 140 nurses have felony drug records, and about half of them hold current nursing licenses.

This particular case is particularly offensive to me.
In one case, teacher Shellie Jorden was sentenced to five years deferred adjudication for fondling one of his fifth-graders in San Antonio. Authorities recommended he no longer teach kids, and the state revoked his teaching license.

But no one restricted the vocational nursing license he also held. Jorden, registered as a sex offender, successfully completed his community supervision and returned to nursing.

Now, at the community health clinic where he works, Jorden spends about half his time working with young children seeking immunizations. He said he understands concern about whether he should be working as a nurse.

"I can see your point," he said.

But, he added, "all it was, was an allegation." He said he pleaded guilty because "that was the best thing for me at the time. It's not actually that I'd done anything or harmed a child."

Why aren't these folks being checked? The answer is MONEY. The legislature won't appropriate enough money to immediately run background checks on all nurses, and doing them as licenses come up for renewal will take a decade. In the mean time, these cases are a tragedy waiting to happen -- especially because courts are not required to notify the state that the holder of a nursing license has been convicted of a drug or sex crime, which is required when someone with a teaching certificate is convicted. That one common sense change needs to happen as soon as the legislature comes into session in January.


Sunday, December 26, 2004

The Problem With Taxes -- Unintended Consequences

I've always loved folks who propose new taxes and assume that their proposal will make no difference when applied. The Las Vegas Review-Journal gives an example of just such a case in Nevada.
State Senate Minority Leader Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, Sen. Randolph Townsend, R-Reno, and Sen. Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas, now want to repeal all or most of a live entertainment tax adopted during the rush to cobble together the state's biggest tax hike, back in 2003.

The tax was intended to grab $57 million a year from strip-tease joints, but has instead driven small-time local musical groups out of business while netting the state only a paltry $8.7 million per year.

What happened? Why was there a problem?
It's the darnedest thing. Turns out lawyers have trouble coming up with a way to differentiate between "wholesome small-time family entertainment" and topless dancers that will pass some tedious constitutional test that still says all taxes are supposed to be, you know ... evenly applied.

"It has become a bookkeeping nightmare. ... We created something so complicated that you can't figure out who has to pay," Ms. Titus now admits. "We didn't want to get hula dancers and piano players."

Please note, in passing, the verb of choice. "Get."

But rather than figuring out what their new law really said and meant before enacting it, the Carson City sausagemakers simply left it to the bureaucrats of the state Tax Commission to figure out what the heck they'd voted for.

And even after mariachi bands and piano players and hula girls were (apparently, supposedly) exempted, restaurants have been reluctant to take a chance on engaging them and possibly owing the tax, explains Daniel Dew.

The piece goes on to point out that this is exactly what is predicted by Von Mises' Law -- one government intervention in the market must lead to another and another -- as the Nevada legislature sets out to fix the problem that it created in the first place by imposing the tax.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License.