Precinct 333

Saturday, January 08, 2005

A Little Too Close To Home For Me

Had i tried to go out this evening, I would have had trouble.

Residents of Seabrook had to stay indoors under the threat of a possible explosion after a Union Pacific railroad train carrying concentrated hydrogen peroxide

Two 90-ton rail cars fell over on their sides, leaking the potentially combustible materials. A fire on the engine — thought to have been sparked as a result of the force of the impact — was extinguished by firefighters.

No injuries were reported, but the hydrogen peroxide leak posed a threat to nearby residents.

We heard sirens, but that was about it. We weren't in the "shelter in place" zone, but knowing that it was within 2 or 3 miles is a bit concerting. Especially since I drive by the place where it happened at least twice daily.


An American Hero Dies

There are some names you hear mentioned with reverence growing up in a military family. This Navy brat heard this man's name more than once.

Sheldon Hoard Kinney, 86, a retired Navy rear admiral whose ship sank three German U-boats in one night and who saw combat service in three wars, died Dec. 11 at his home in Annapolis. He was a former commandant of the U.S. Naval Academy.

If you go to one link off of my site, this should be it. He was a truly amazing man.

Survivors include his wife of 64 years, Elizabeth "Lea" Douglas Kinney of Annapolis; two sons, Douglas Kinney of Washington and Bruce Kinney of Snellville, Ga; a brother; three grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

My deepest condolences to all who loved him.


Friday, January 07, 2005

Would You Give?

Three years ago, fashion writer Christa Worthington was murdered in the town of Truro, Massachusetts. No arrests have been made, despite the recovery of a male DNA sample. Now police are asking all male residents of the town to voluntarily give a DNA sample to be tested.

"We are turning to the Truro community and asking that they look inward and begin to consider the possibilities that exist within their community who may have interacted with Worthington," State Police Trooper Christopher Mason said. "From an investigators standpoint, it is efficient and effective."

District Attorney Michael O'Keefe said that officials will look more closely at those who do not cooperate.

"I would say to any member of the public that they should have no (qualms) about cooperating with the police. By law, that DNA sample can't go anywhere," O'Keefe said.

Am I the only one who finds the district attorney’s statement a bit chilling? The police have no probable cause to get a court order for the samples. Instead they say "Give us your DNA or become a suspect in a murder investigation." What assurance is there that the DNA sample will be used only in this case? Will the “volunteers” become a part of a larger police DNA database, available for use in any case? And will the refusing to cooperate be presented to a court as probable cause for compelling someone to give a sample?

I think I would opt out of this program – and tell the cops to pound sand when they came to question me. Exercising one’s right to privacy is not a legitimate basis for being made the subject of a criminal investigation.


Parents Serve Detention With Daughter

Steven and Susan Manis had car trouble several times in October and November. That made their daughter, Jessica, late for school six times. At Pearland Junior High East, students tardy more than twice receive a one hour detention. Since the school would not relent (though it looks like they may have, because the kid should have more than one detention by my count), the parents came to serve the detention with their daughter.

"This is a case of a zero tolerance policy gone wild," Susan Manis said. She said the part of school her daughter missed never included an academic class but a home room-like class called "Advisory."

She said the tardies came on mornings when the school bus had already passed before she found out her van wouldn't start. A recurring electrical problem with the vehicle has been remedied, she said.

"We are enforcing the handbook consequences for a student who is repeatedly late to school," Principal Lonnie Leal said in a written statement.

While i've always been critical of zero tolerance policies,I disagree with the parents. This policy is reasonable. The only wild thing I see here is that these parents think that the tardy policy shouldn’t apply to their daughter because they feel she has a good reason for being late.

To be honest, I think this is just a political stunt. Both parents ran for school board last spring, and both were defeated. I'd bet they are planning another run.


Persecuting Physicians

My darling wife suffers from chronic degenerative conditions that cause her great pain. I won’t go into the details, but suffice it to say that we have a pair of doctors who do their best to keep her healthy and minimize her discomfort. We scrupulously adhere to her treatment regimen and medication schedule. That’s why the outrageous prosecution/persecution of Dr. Bill Hurwitz resonates with me so strongly.

On December 15, Dr. Bill Hurwitz was shackled in the courtroom and hauled away to jail. A federal jury in Virginia declared the doctor guilty of some of the drug-dealing charges the government brought against him - a conviction that carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 20 years to life.

Dr. Hurwitz specialized in treating patients suffering with chronic pain. Some of his treatment techniques were considered "controversial" a decade ago but are now widely accepted as standard practice by doctors working in medical schools as well as in private practice. These methods are now recognized in state law, for example, in Virginia.

Further, the doctor's plan or protocol for treating such patients was formally accepted in written agreements by both state and federal government officials in 1997 and 1998.

As part of these agreements, Dr. Hurwitz allowed federal government agents working for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) access to all his patient records, at any time, without requiring a court order or search warrant. He also provided DEA agents with complete and ongoing records of all patients receiving powerful pain medicines every three months.

This isn’t a man trying to push drugs or hide anything. This is a doctor trying to treat patients. He even went above and beyond the call of duty in providing those records, because he wanted to make sure that his patients were not abusing or diverting the drugs. Now I’ll concede I am a bit disturbed by some of the privacy implications of the practices, but I assume that he made his patients aware of what was being done and referred patients with objections to other doctors.
So what did he get for his trouble? He got screwed.

During four years of providing prodigious amounts of patient information to government agents, DEA agents never advised him about any of the illegal activities of the few patients who did so.

Hurwitz himself became aware of illegal or unethical activities of 17 patients and refused to treat them further. After learning that four other patients suffering with chronic pain were arrested on drug charges, he watched these patients more carefully and used laboratory tests to confirm that these patients were indeed taking the drugs in the prescribed doses.

About 15 of his 400 patients lied to Dr. Hurwitz about their pain in order to get prescriptions for more medicine than they needed. When government agents discovered these patients were selling drugs illegally, they bribed them to testify against Dr. Hurwitz by offering lenient prosecution.

They also sent "patients" to him that were imposters, liars for hire, paid for by government prosecutors.

Given that government agents were given all the information they wanted and more, it would have made sense to let Dr. Hurwitz know when a patient was diverting drugs.

So let's recap. The DEA knew that two patients made nearly $4,000,000 selling their medications. Dr. Hurwitz was told nothing of this. The pushers were given deals, and the doctor was indicted and arrested on 62 felony charges, including conspiracy to traffic in controlled substances, drug trafficking resulting in death and serious bodily injury, and health care fraud.

The trial tactics were even more outrageous. The prosecutors tried to shift the burden of proof by insisting that the doctor show he didn’t know of the diversions. They got the judge to forbid the introduction of any evidence related to the doctor’s cooperation with the DEA. The sheer number of charges brought by the prosecution were designed to leave the jury convinced that even if a given charge wasn’t proved, Dr. Hurwitz must be guilty of something, making it much more likely that there would be a conviction one or more of the charges. Sadly, they succeeded.

When are we going to stop criminalizing the practice of medicine? When are we going to allow the “best practices” to be determined by physicians rather than bureaucrats and prosecutors? Prescription decisions need to be in the hands of doctors, not prosecutors. Prosecutions should be directed at criminals, not those who write a prescription in good faith.


GOP To Sue Over Washington Gubernatorial Election Theft

And after the Democrat antics yesterday ovr the certification of the Bush victory, I’d better not hear any complaint about the suit. After all, Washington Republicans have actual evidence of actual voting irregularities.

The Republican court challenge to Christine Gregoire's election as governor, expected to be filed today, will center on mishandled provisional ballots in King County and lingering questions about why the county shows more votes counted than people voting on Nov. 2.

That's Republican candidate Dino Rossi's best bet for getting a judge to overturn Gregoire's 129-vote victory, said former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton. Gorton, an attorney who lost his Senate seat in a close 2000 race, is not part of Rossi's legal team but is a close adviser to the candidate and has been consulted about the imminent legal challenge.

"That will be the primary ground of any election contest," Gorton said yesterday. "And I've got to say I think it's not only a valid argument, but a compelling argument.

The lawsuit also will likely include allegations of votes by dead people and felons, and multiple votes by the same voter. But those issues, while garnering much attention among Rossi supporters in recent days, will be secondary.”

More votes than voters. Mishandled provisional ballots. Problems with absentee ballots. “Enhancement” of ballots with no clear voter intent indicated. Dead voters. Felon voters. Multiple voters.

How could anyone think the 129 vote margin is NOT in question?


Thursday, January 06, 2005

No Crosses Allowed At Inauguration?

Why has the Secret Service banned the symbol of Christianity from rallies and demonstrations in public parks and on public sidewalks?

The Washington-based Christian Defense Coalition is protesting a proposed ban on the display of crosses during inauguration ceremonies for President George W. Bush.

In a December 17 letter to the National Park Service, the Secret Service-- which is responsible for the safety of the President and other US government officials-- asked for a ban on numerous items during the inauguration festivities. The Secret Service sought a ban on potentially dangerous items such as firearms, explosives, and laser pointers; but the list of proscribed items also included "coffins, crates, crosses, crates theaters, and statues." No explanation was given for the inclusion of crosses on the list. The Christian Defense Coalition, which was planning to hold a prayer vigil during the inaugural parade, received a permit that listed the banned items, including crosses.

Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, decried the ban on crosses as a clear form of "religious bigotry and censorship." The restriction is even more offensive, he added, "when one realizes that it is only Christian symbols that have been excluded." The Secret Service regulations explicitly allow for bullhorns and signs of up to 20 feet in length.

Mahoney announced that members of his group "will be on the public sidewalks holding crosses at the inauguration parade even if that means risking arrest and jail."

I keep hearing that because of the reelection of George W. Bush and the increase in GOP strength across the country, we live in a fundamentalist Christian theocracy. This certainly is a strange way to show it, by banning the public display of that faith’s sacred symbol. I can see no legitimate reason for such a ban, and believe it to be invalid on its face.


Feed These Hungry Puppies

This is outrageous! Iraqi police dogs are starving to death!

The commander of an Army Reserve detachment is begging friends back home to send food for Iraqi police dogs.

"The dogs are starving and urgently need dry dog food," Capt. Gabriella Cook, commander of the Las Vegas-based 313th Military Police Detachment, said in a Dec. 28 e-mail reported Wednesday by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

"Some of them have already died," Cook wrote. "Half of them are sick. We have no way of buying actual dog food here."

Cook's unit arrived last month in the Iraq capital. She said 12 German shepherds and one black Labrador retriever trained for bomb-detection and attack at the Iraqi Police Academy in Baghdad have been eating table scraps and garbage.

"It seems like an emergency situation," Diana Paivanas, a Henderson pet-care provider and Cook's friend, told the Review-Journal. "Something needs to be done now to save these dogs."

Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., a veterinarian, directed a legislative aide to contact an Army liaison to investigate, a spokesman for the senator said. But when contacted Wednesday, his office said they were unsure where to send donations and that they are looking into it.

Military officials at the Combined Press Information Center in Baghdad did not immediately respond to the newspaper's request for information about the food supply for U.S. canines in Iraq.

I know there is a lot of suffering and hunger in that war-torn country, but something can surely be done.

Paivanas said she found it costs about $50 to mail a 30-pound bag of dog food to Cook.

Henderson Veterinarian Terry Muratore estimated that each of the 13 working dogs would consume a 40 pounds or more of dry food per month.

"If securing the country entails having security dogs that are healthy, then we should do that," Muratore said. "Surely there's space on a C-130 to get a pallet of dog food over there."

If you would like to help feed the dogs, you may send checks to the Las Vegas Valley Humane Society. They are working with several companies to ship food to the animals as soon as possible.

"PetSmart has donated a pallet of food, and we hope PetCo will do the same," Judith Ruiz, president of the Las Vegas Valley Humane Society said.

Ruiz said several companies have donated food and that with the money, the Humane Society will be able to buy more dog food at a discounted rate and will also pay for shipping to Iraq.

"All funds will go directly for the animals," Ruiz said.

The Humane Society is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization. So your donation will be tax deductible.

Send donations to:

Las Vegas Valley Humane Society
Funds For Dogs In Iraq
2250 E. Tropicana
Suite 19
Las Vegas, NV 89119

Make checks payable to the Las Vegas Valley Humane Society. The group asks that you indicate in a letter or on the check that you want your donation to go to the dogs in Iraq.


Andrea Yates Gets An New Trial

Two of the big murder trials of the last five years have come from killings within a few miles of my home – the Clara Harris and Andrea Yates cases. Both recently filed appeals of their convictions, and while the Harris appeal was denied, the appellate court has ordered a new trial for Yates.

Yates' lawyers had argued at a hearing last month before a three-judge panel of the First Court of Appeals in Houston that psychiatrist Park Dietz was wrong when he mentioned an episode of the TV show "Law & Order" involving a woman found innocent by reason of insanity for drowning her children.

After jurors found Yates guilty, attorneys in the case and jurors learned no such episode existed.

"We conclude that there is a reasonable likelihood that Dr. Dietz's false testimony could have affected the judgment of the jury," the court ruled. "We further conclude that Dr. Dietz's false testimony affected the substantial rights of appellant."

I’ve sort of expected this ruling for some time, although I don’t think the erroneous testimony substantially impacted the jury verdict. After all, she immediately called the police and confessed to killing her children. There is no doubt that she did the crime, only the question of the level of responsibility she bears under Texas law. I think the court has erred in ordering a new trial here.


Dare We Call It Vote Fraud?

I remember working the Gaffner for Congress campaign years ago, right after Congressman Mel Price died. We worked hard to win that seat that had been held by the deceased incumbent for over four decades, and it looked like we had a shot. As we watched the vote come in on election night we were ahead of Jerry Costello in every part of the district, including the county where he was County Board Chairman, his hometown where he had been mayor, and even his home precinct.

And then East St. Louis came in. The Democrat stronghold sank our victory. I wondered then, and wonder now, how much fraud was involved in that outcome.

Well, someone finally looked at the issue of vote fraud in that town.

A second investigation into claims of voter fraud in East St. Louis during the election Nov. 2 has been launched, this time by St. Clair County State's Attorney Robert Haida.

Haida's investigation is limited to 13 absentee votes that were cast from a boardinghouse in East St. Louis. The federal government has declined to talk about its case, but a search warrant issued during an FBI raid at East St. Louis City Hall on Nov. 23 indicates that the reach is much greater.

"Our investigation is separate but not in conflict with the federal government," Haida said Wednesday.

Oliver Hamilton, a Democratic precinct committeeman, owns the boardinghouse, at 1232 Cleveland Avenue, targeted by the investigation.

I suspect that they will find the voters did not personally cast those ballots. I heard a lot of stories of such things way back when, but it seems like things may not have changed that much.

Eleven computer hard drives seized in the East St. Louis City Hall raid were returned on Monday. FBI agents said other items seized were being retained as the investigation continues. The federal government search warrants say the items were taken to help in the investigation of election fraud, mail fraud and "obstruction of an official proceeding by the destruction of records."

Hmmm… this could get interesting. But I wonder where Jesse Jackson is on this, since election fraud is his big issue. Could it be that the election fraud by black Democrats is not a concern for him?


CSI: Egypt?

Maybe I’m a geek – but wouldn’t it have been neat to be there for this?

A team of researchers briefly removed King Tut's mummy from its tomb Wednesday and laid bare his bones for a CT scan that could solve an enduring mystery: Was it murder or natural causes that killed Egypt's boy pharaoh 3,000 years ago?
Tut's toes and fingers and an eerie outline of his face could be seen as the mummy, resting in a box to protect it, was placed inside the machine in a specially equipped van parked near his underground tomb in the famed Valley of the Kings.
The 1,700 images taken during the 15-minute CT scan could answer many of the mysteries that shroud King Tutankhamun's life and death including his royal lineage, his exact age at the time of his death now estimated at 17 and the reason he died.


Wednesday, January 05, 2005

A Great Civics Lesson From Dr. Williams

My students will get a copy of this column the next time I teach American Government.

In recognition that it's Congress that poses the greatest threat to our liberties, the framers used negative phrases against Congress throughout the Constitution such as: shall not abridge, infringe, deny, disparage, and shall not be violated, nor be denied. In a republican form of government, there is rule of law. All citizens, including government officials, are accountable to the same laws. Government power is limited and decentralized through a system of checks and balances. Government intervenes in civil society to protect its citizens against force and fraud but does not intervene in the cases of peaceable, voluntary exchange.

Contrast the framers' vision of a republic with that of a democracy. In a democracy, the majority rules either directly or through its elected representatives. As in a monarchy, the law is whatever the government determines it to be. Laws do not represent reason. They represent power. The restraint is upon the individual instead of government. Unlike that envisioned under a republican form of government, rights are seen as privileges and permissions that are granted by government and can be rescinded by government.

Dr. Walter E. Williams
Are we a republic or a democracy?


Does Freedom Of The Press Still Exist?

The last time I checked, freedom of the press was still enshrined in the First Amendment. That includes the right of a newspaper to make editorial decisions about what it fit and proper to publish – especially in the way of opinion pieces.

That protection will be gone if the Arizona Supreme Court upholds a lower court judge’s decision to allow a trial in a lawsuit that alleges that a letter to the editor caused emotional distress to members of the local Muslim community. The letter, published as attacks on US troops in Iraq increased, suggested that American soldiers in Iraq should take reprisals by killing Muslims in nearby mosques.

Two Tucson men filed a class-action lawsuit against the Gannett Co. newspaper on Jan. 13, 2004 over a letter printed on Dec. 2, 2003 as deadly attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq mounted.

The letter prompted some fearful Tucson Muslims to keep their children home from religious schools and resulted in letters of protests from readers and a published apology by the Citizen, which also sent staff members to meet with members of a local mosque.

In a Dec. 6, 2003 column apologizing for the newspaper's decision to print the letter, Publisher and Editor Michael A. Chihak said the letter's author had written a second letter to clarify that his comments only referred to military actions in combat zones.

Now let’s say it outright – the sentiment in the letter is somewhat disturbing. The idea that the US military should take random revenge on individuals based upon religion is repulsive. But it is also protected speech, not, as the individuals who sued claim, a call for violence that could legitimately include attacks on Muslims in America.

Judge Leslie Miller of Pima County Superior Court in Tucson on May 10 allowed the lawsuit's claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress to stand, setting the stage for pretrial fact-finding now put on hold during the appeal to the Supreme Court.

"Clearly, reasonable minds could differ in determining whether the publication of the letter rose to the level of extreme and outrageous conduct," Miller wrote.

No, judge, reasonable minds cannot differ on that matter. There is no threat, nor was there any incitement to violence. The extreme and outrageous conduct here is the use of the courts to suppress political speech, and your decision to ignore the clearly delineated limits of government power.


Turkey Run?

Staff the district office of Rep John Conyers (D-Michigan) requested sixty Thanksgiving turkeys from a Detroit food pantry to distribute to needy families in the district. Now the staff turkeys won’t say where the frozen turkeys went.

Conyers' Detroit office promised an accounting of any turkey distribution by Dec. 27, but the Gleaners Community Food Bank had received no paperwork as of Tuesday, said the charity's director, Agostinho Fernandes.
Fernandes said he became suspicious that the turkeys didn't get to poor people after hearing from a friend that a federal court worker had said he was offered free turkeys from a member of Conyers' staff.

Conyers aides insist that the turkeys were properly distributed, and said that a fax had been sent on Tuesday listing the names of the recipients. But Fernandes said that no list had been received as of the end of the day on Tuesday. And Conyers has failed to respond to requests from the Detroit Free Press that he contact the paper about the situation.

Conyers staff member who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal told the Free Press that [Conyers staffer Elisa] Grubbs and her cousin, Conyers' Detroit deputy chief of staff Marion Brown, along with a former Conyers aide, DeWayne Boyd, picked up the turkeys and later gave contradictory accounts of what happened to the birds.

The unnamed staff member raised concerns in a memo sent to both the FBI and House ethics committee. Conyers was the target of an informal ethics committee inquiry last year following a Free Press investigation about use of staff members during work hours for political campaigns.

Boyd, who was fired from Conyers' Detroit office in 2002, was convicted on seven counts of fraud last month in U.S. District Court in connection with a scam he ran from Conyers' office in 1999.

So a couple of staff members and a former staffer convicted of fraud picked up 720 pounds of frozen turkey and have so far failed to account for it. The congressman and other staffers are stonewalling those seeking answers. Very interesting.

"You can imagine how we feel," Fernandes said. "They didn't pay anything. This was donations to them to help the needy. We get calls from different representatives who want to put together food baskets for their needy constituents and you have faith that these people are going to bring the food to the people it's intended to go to."

Stealing from the needy during the holidays. That’s low, even for the Democrats.


Will The Aid Be In Your Country Tonight?

Jim McIngvale is one of those characters that someone would have to invent if he didn’t really exist. Better known as "Mattress Mack," he turned one store into one of Houston’s thriving businesses through grit, hard work, and showmanship. So ubiquitous are his ads that I’m reasonably sure that there are Houston area children whose first words are “Gallery Furniture saves you money!”

Now he’s been asked by former president George H.W. Bush to head up Houston area fundraising for tsunami aid.

McIngvale, one of the city's most public philanthropists, said his customers have been asking what he plans to do to help the relief effort.
"I was at a loss," he said, "and then President Bush appointed his father and Clinton."

Linda McIngvale contacted Bush's office to inquire about helping locally.

"We had a meeting," Jim McIngvale said. "It's just a way for us to be involved and help all these people in this tremendous disaster."

If anyone can get folks to give, it will be McIngvale.

But I also want to highlight one item buried at the end of the story.

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, is working with the group Houston's Solution for Tsunami Victims to collect medical supplies.

I don’t like the woman, but I’ll give her credit and acknowledgement for doing the right thing here. I’m quite pleased to see it.


Tuesday, January 04, 2005

What Part Of ILLEGAL ALIEN Don't You Understand?

A so-called civil rights group is asking a federal appeals court to stop the implementation of an Arizona law denying government benefits to illegal aliens. Voters adopted the law in November.
The civil rights group contends the measure will harm families who depend on public benefits for basic necessities, and could potentially cut them from all state services.

I think most Americans would see that as a good thing. After all, these people are not supposed to be in the country at all, and therefore have no legitimate claim on any taxpayer-funded services.

By the way, the Mexican government is now distributing a guide explaining how to illegally cross the border and hide out in American society. Once we determine how much the book cost the Mexican government, perhaps we should cut the foreign aid budget for Mexico by ten or twenty times that amount.
The 32-page color primer, published by Mexico's foreign ministry in December, gives would-be migrants tips including how to swim across the Rio Grande and avoid dehydration in the desert. It also sets out their legal rights on detention.

And maybe it is time to set up guard towers with working machine guns to stop the invasion countenanced and assisted by the Vincente Fox.


Women Use Less Birth Control

It goes against the norms of our contraceptive culture, but the number of women not using birth control has increased over the last decade.

At a time when the medical community has been heartened by a decline in risky sexual behavior by teenagers, a different problem has crept up: More adult women are forgoing birth control, a trend that has experts puzzled -- and alarmed about a potential rise in unintended pregnancies.

Buried in the government's latest in-depth analysis of contraceptive use was the finding that the number of women who had sex in the previous three months but did not use birth control rose from 5.2 percent in 1995 to 7.4 percent in 2002. That means that as many as 11 percent of all women are at risk of unintended pregnancy at some point during their childbearing years (ages 15 to 44).

The article is couched in alarmist tones, noting that women who have unintended pregnancies are more likely to be unprepared psychologically or emotionally for parenthood. There is also much speculation about why these women are not using birth control.

Physicians, statisticians and advocates who specialize in reproductive health had several theories for the rise in unprotected sex. They pointed to possible factors such as gaps in sex education, the cost of birth control, declining insurance coverage, fears of possible side effects of contraceptives and personal attitudes about childbearing.

It is possible, said Paul Blumenthal, that many more women are trying to conceive and thus have stopped using contraception. But the Johns Hopkins University professor said it is more likely that more women have found the cost of birth control burdensome.

Because the number of uninsured has increased, these women might be on the short end of that stick," he said. Since 2001, the number of uninsured Americans has risen by 4 million.

Jeffrey Jensen, director of the Women's Health Research Unit at Oregon Health and Science University, said he regularly encounters patients who have trouble affording birth control, even if their private insurance covers it.

"It is absolutely unconscionable that women have a co-pay of $20 or $25 [a month] for contraceptives and men are getting off scot-free," Jensen said. Drug companies "have cut way back" on free samples and many women turn to less effective types of birth control because of cost, he said, "running a greater risk of pregnancy as a result."

Two things leap out at me. The first is the absolute discounting of the possibility that these women are exercising their “right to reproductive choice” in a manner that leads them to CHOOSE to get pregnant. Such a thing is unimaginable to supporters of contraceptive culture and the sacrament of abortion. The second is the immediate assumption that women – presented as strong, intelligent, independent individuals capable of making rational informed choices by abortion proponents when they argue in favor of “a woman’s right to choose” – are depicted as ignorant, frightened, powerless victims when they don’t use birth control.

And I won’t even get into the statement that “men are getting off scot-free.” Aside from the lack of choice given to men in the abortion decision, the financial burden imposed by the child-support laws of the US, and the legal imposition of “my body, my choice” feminism designed to demean men as nothing but irresponsible sperm donors, why should men be expected to pay for the reproductive choices made by women? The whole point of feminism over the last half century was to liberate women from paternalistic men – but apparently not to the point that women might support themselves, or pay for their own choices.

But the one thing is clear -- to the researchers, the notion that a woman might voluntarily choose to conceive is. . . inconceivable.


Property Rights At Heart Of Dispute Between Old, New Neighbors

I’m sure glad I didn’t buy into this neighborhood.

Signs at the entrance to Morgan's Crossing advertise a swim and tennis community with brick-front homes starting at $160,000. The three-bedroom, three-car-garage homes are about 2,600 square feet.

Just down Double Springs Church Road is another sign: "Danger — Keep Out — Live Fire Machine Gun Range." The signs at the entrance to Kevin Brittingham's 33-acre property also note that the range backs onto Morgan's Crossing.

The case highlights the friction that can emerge in fast-growing communities such as Walton County, where newer residents may have expectations about land use at odds with established landowners. This is especially true where new homes border agricultural land.

Though the Census Bureau lists Walton County as the 57th-fastest-growing in the United States, it's still largely rural, said Kevin Little, County Commission chairman.

Little said one worried farmer recently went to the county offices to have his chicken houses marked on the official map for his property. He said the farmer wanted to prevent future neighbors from moving in and then trying to shut down his chicken houses by claiming they didn't know about the odorous farm operation.

It strikes me that these new residents didn’t use due diligence to find out about their new neighborhood. Why should someone else have to change their property use just because new folks move into their area? But I’m disturbed by Little’s reaction to the issue.

Little said Brittingham has the proper licenses to own his guns, and his land is zoned for agricultural use — which, in Walton, allows for shooting guns. So the commissioners won't be getting involved, Little said. "If a neighbor doesn't like what somebody's doing, that's what the courts are for."

No, it’s not. If you don’t like what your neighbor is doing and it is legal, then that isn’t for the courts – IT’S NONE OF YOUR DAMN BUSINESS! Especially when it involves the exercise of a right protected by the Constitution.

John Eberhart, who mans the sales office at the subdivision, said he's a member of the National Rifle Association and enjoys occasional skeet and trap shooting.
With that much land, "I would probably be out there and shooting myself, but not machine guns," Eberhart said. "Military ordnance, you should not be able to shoot next to or abutting residential property."

But the thing is, John, that it wasn’t residential property until you made it residential property. Do you really mean to say that he should lose his constitutional rights because YOU decided to build and sell houses out in the middle of the country. That’s mighty arrogant of you.

Eberhart said builders didn't know that Brittingham had a private shooting range on his land until the first buyers were ready to close on their houses. He said the builders were initially willing to buy Brittingham's land, but he wanted too much for the property, which is mostly floodplain and unbuildable.

Eberhart admits that some potential buyers have been scared off but said he worries that buying Brittingham's land could set a precedent that could encourage others to "blackmail" developers in the future.

Yeah, imagine that – a precedent that says that someone has the right to use their property as they see fit, even if some big developer buys up the surrounding property, subdivides it and starts selling houses. This guy had a pre-existing use that you knew or should have known about. How is his insistence that his property rights be respected or bought out to be considered “blackmail”? I’d argue that the builders’ insistence that Brittingham take a lowball price for his land or face legal action fits the definition of that term much better.


Peanut Butter Police

They don’t have much tolerance for peanut butter sandwiches in Yorktown, Indiana.

Savannah Dowling is a typical 8-year-old girl; much of her protein comes from peanut butter sandwiches.

However, if she wants to bring one to Central Indiana's Pleasant View Elementary School, she has to eat it at a special table in the cafeteria to accommodate one first grader with a severe allergy. Soon she'll have to take her lunch to an area the school is calling the "peanut gallery" so the one child with the peanut allergy isn't affected.

Now hold on.

For the sake of one kid, they have a special area for those who have the audacity to consume food containing nuts?

Don’t they have it backwards? Shouldn’t it be the allergic child who is restricted?

The boy's parents refused to be interviewed but said their child's allergy warrants extraordinary safeguards.

"He does not have to ingest it for his air to constrict and he loses the ability to breathe," the parents wrote in a statement. "We have the medical evidence that shows that our son has one of the worst allergies on record for this food."

Gee, that’s too bad. Your child is clearly too ill to be in a normal school environment, so you need to home school him. Any other option is simply irresponsible parenting. You do not get to demand that the entire world go to extraordinary lengths to accommodate your child’s special needs. That is simply not reasonable.


Oh, Really!

One more sign that some folks don’t get it.
An electric blue wristband seen on the wrists of democratic supporters has been spotted across the nation. The wristband, which is being worn by young and old alike, boldly declares that its wearer is an "Enlightened American" who supports democratic candidates and ideals.
Many Democrats were disappointed by the results of the 2004 Presidential Election. Now, as the Inauguration approaches, some remain in a state of disbelief, while others feel that their voices will remain unheard and their needs unmet by the incoming administration. By wearing the Enlightened American wristband, these individuals band together in common voice declaring that they remain firm in their ideals, especially during this important political time.

You lost the election.

You are not a better person because you voted for the losing candidate.

But maybe we need to market a red bracelet that reads Real American – just to make the point.


24 Bugs CAIR

Those wacky supporters of jihad and terrorism, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), are bugged by the storyline for the upcoming season of the Fox series 24. It seems that the terrorist threat this time comes from – a Muslim family operating as a sleeper-cell.

"At first I was shocked," organization spokeswoman Rabiah Ahmed told the New York Daily News. "In this particular case, they show an American-Muslim family and they portray them as terrorists."
What’s so shocking to you? That someone might have made a connection between Muslims and terrorism? Or that they had the cojones to actually put it on the show, given the threats of retribution your group has made over the years against anyone who even hints that there might just be a causal relationship between Islam and terrorism? Or could it be your shock that someone would suggest that Muslim teens might even be involved with terrorism? After all, we know that no Muslim has ever been involved in terrorism, and that it is Buddhist nuns who are blowing themselves up in Israel and other parts of the world.

This is the show’s fourth season. Deal with the fact that the group that is the biggest source of terrorism in the world (Islam) is actually going produce the villains this year.


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