I've been swamped the past week, and probably will be for the rest of this week, so don't expect much from me until about Monday.
But please do have yourself a merry little Halloween!
I've been swamped the past week, and probably will be for the rest of this week, so don't expect much from me until about Monday.
But please do have yourself a merry little Halloween!
by Stan at 1:59 PM
With no help from my Republican Senators. The DREAM Act would've allowed millions of illegal immigrants to apply for amnesty, and would get it if they said and could provide minimal proof that they were here before the age of 15.
Hot Air has details.
Notice that John 'Amnesty' McCain did not vote.
by Stan at 11:07 AM
I don't think we're losing the new moon race. But the Chinese are catching up quickly, and are poised to pass us standing flat-footed.
China launched its first lunar probe Wednesday, an initial step in an ambitious 10-year plan to send a rover to the moon and return it to Earth.
The Chang'e 1 orbiter blasted off with a trail of smoke from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province in southwestern China, according to images from state television.
by Stan at 11:01 AM
Kenyan officials are not sure how to handle a troop of rude monkeys that's been making lewd gestures at women, London's Daily Telegraph reports.
"Can the [tourism] minister deploy game rangers ... to deal with the monkey menace?" pleaded local representative Paul Muite in Kenya's national parliament last month, to accompanying laughter. "These creatures have clearly shown that they have no respect for women."
by Stan at 10:48 AM
Another incredibly willful suspension of disbelief. This time of the politically incorrect notion that a great portion of criminals are illegal immigrants. Just like terrorists and Muslims, an inconvenient but obvious connection. This guy is defending his open-borders sanctuary city agenda as necessary to fight, get this, the cause of sanctuary city policies, crime.
"I can just tell you Fairfax County is not going to go the route of some of our neighbors," Connolly, who is seeking a second term as chairman Nov. 6, said during a meeting with Washington Post reporters and editors. "We're not going to demagogue. We're not going to essentially roll back the welcome mat...
Connolly cautioned that such an expansion would drive a dangerous wedge between police and immigrants -- making them reluctant to cooperate with investigations -- and heighten the danger of racial profiling by officers. He said Fairfax Police Chief David M. Rohrer would be reluctant to involve his officers.
by Stan at 11:54 AM
It certainly sounds good, and it certainly is one of the closest plans from a GOP candidate to what I've been wanting for quite some time.
Below is the meat of the plan, which puts proven results into action, and gives teeth to our immigration enforcers...
Attrition through Enforcement. Reduce the number of illegal aliens through increased enforcement against unauthorized alien workers and their employers. Without illegal employment opportunities available, fewer illegal aliens will attempt to enter the country, and many of those illegally in the country now likely will return home. Self-deportation can also be maximized by stepping up the enforcement levels of other existing immigration laws. This course of action offers a reasonable alternative to the false choices currently proposed to deal with the 12 million or more aliens already in the U.S. illegally: either arrest and deport them all, or give them all amnesty. Attrition through enforcement is a more reasonable and achievable solution, but this approach requires additional resources for enforcement and border security:He'll most definitely have problems getting this through assuming he's elected president. Even in the unlikely chance the Republicans take back Congress, Thompson will face opposition from amnesty RINOs as well as stubborn Democrats. Given the nature of hostility toward all things immigration, this is the most realistic anti-illegal immigration plan I've seen yet. And it's nothing special. It's a breath of fresh commonsense most Americans have been asking for, for the better part of the last decade.
1. Doubling ICE agents handling interior enforcement, increasing the Border Patrol to at least 25,000 agents, and increasing detention space to incarcerate illegal aliens we arrest rather than letting them go with a promise to show up later for legal proceedings against them.
2. Adding resources for the Department of Justice to prosecute alien smugglers, people involved in trafficking in false identification documents, and previously deported felons.
3. Maximizing efforts to prosecute and convict members of criminal alien gangs, such as MS-13 and affiliated gangs. These gangs have brought unusual levels of violence to more than 30 U.S. states and have also become very active in drug-smuggling, gun-smuggling, and alien-smuggling.
4. Implementing fully and making greater use of the expedited removal process already allowed under federal law.
5. Enabling the Social Security Administration to share relevant information with immigration and law enforcement personnel in a manner that will support effective interior enforcement efforts.
Enforce Existing Federal Laws. Enforce the laws Congress has already enacted to prevent illegal aliens from unlawfully benefiting from their presence in the country:
1. End Sanctuary Cities by cutting off discretionary federal grant funds as appropriate to any community that, by law, ordinance, executive order, or other formal policy directs its public officials not to comply with the provisions of 8 USC 1373 and 8 USC 1644, which prohibit any state or local government from restricting in any way communications with the Department of Homeland Security regarding the immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of an alien in the United States.
2. Deny discretionary Federal education grants as appropriate to public universities that violate federal law by offering in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens without also offering identical benefits to United States citizens, regardless of whether or not they live in the state, as required by 8 USC 1623.
3. Deny discretionary Federal grants as appropriate to states and local governments that violate federal law by offering public benefits to illegal aliens, as prohibited by 8 USC 1621(a).
by Stan at 11:39 AM
This should be interesting... maybe:
Sunday is when the Giants and the Miami Dolphins play the National Football League’s first regular-season game held overseas, at sold-out Wembley Stadium in London. For the most American of sports leagues, it is a trial balloon to uncharted territory.
If the game goes well — meaning, mostly, that owners of the league’s 32 teams see that it can cause a happy ruckus in London without the trip feeling foreign to the teams involved — the N.F.L. will likely play two overseas games each of the next four seasons, as part of a resolution already approved by owners.
by Stan at 11:48 PM
I was emailed by Penguin with an opportunity to review this new book about one immigration enforcement agent's story. I'm glad I took up the offer.
From the U.S. immigration bureaucracy to the Supreme Court, America's illegal immigration problem as many of us are well aware, is boiling over with no end in sight, nor with help from the politicians. In The Deporter, former Deportation Officer Ames Holbrook provides a true and compelling account of what it's like on the deportation side of the national immigration nightmare.
The Deporter gives perspective from the midst of the fallout of the insane and emasculated U.S. immigration policies. While Mr. Holbrook pushes to deport murdering and kidnapping criminal aliens whose governments don't want them, our own government pushes back. With a clear, but cumbersome sense of duty, Mr. Holbrook in essence, becomes the Jack Bauer of Immigration Enforcement.
It's a job filled with moral dilemmas; a job where agent Ames Holbrook tries to make sense of his conflicting duty where policy undermines objective. Contrary to the federal government, Ames finds ways to protect the American people.
It was hard to put the book down, and if you thought America's immigration system was bad, wait until you read The Deporter. It is a stirring read.
Check it out at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
by Stan at 1:47 PM
A big thanks to a staunch pro-LEO and largely pro-Bush Patterico for blogging about this. Apparently, an Egyptian-American man was being questioned by the FBI, and had his family threatened to be deported to Egypt to be tortured if he did not cooperate. This appalling information came out in a recent 2nd Circuit Court opinion published on the web, which was soon thereafter taken down. But the internet never forgets:
Higazy alleges that during the polygraph, Templeton told him that he should cooperate, and explained that if Higazy did not cooperate, the FBI would make his brother “live in scrutiny” and would “make sure that Egyptian security gives [his] family hell.” Templeton later admitted that he knew how the Egyptian security forces operated: “that they had a security service, that their laws are different than ours, that they are probably allowed to do things in that country where they don’t advise people of their rights, they don’t – yeah, probably about torture, sure.” Higazy later said, “I knew that I couldn’t prove my innocence, and I knew that my family was in danger.” He explained that “[t]he only thing that went through my head was oh, my God, I am screwed and my family’s in danger. If I say this device is mine, I’m screwed and my family is going to be safe. If I say this device is not mine, I’m screwed and my family’s in danger. And Agent Templeton made it quite clear that cooperate had to mean saying something else other than this device is not mine.”
by Stan at 12:10 AM
Here's video of the latest GOP debate in Florida:
The rest below the jump
by Stan at 7:41 PM
by Stan at 6:31 PM
[M]iddle-class entitlement creep would be wrong even if was affordable, even if Bill Gates wrote a check to cover it every month: it turns free-born citizens into enervated wards of the Nanny State.
by Stan at 4:28 PM
I don't know how much ineptness and corruption a state can take, but Louisiana sure took a great deal of it. Between Governor Blanco and Mayor "Chocolate City" Nagin, New Orleans was a perfect example of idiots in over their head, quick to criticize the characteristically slow feds for their own incompetence. But things change:
...in a state that has long been stereotyped as corrupt and supportive of the good 'ole boy system, Jindal's victory is a sign that maybe, if the state is ever going to be turned around, now is the time to do it. He has vowed to call a special session of the legislature shortly after his inauguration to "pass ethics reforms with real teeth" and has promised to institute a variety of 10- to 31-point plans that reflect his policy wonkiness. As he put it on Saturday: "The rest of the country, keep your eyes on Louisiana."
by Stan at 2:38 PM
I'd seen an image almost exactly like this in a coffee shop today, so I can't take credit for the idea. I searched all over for it on the net but came up empty handed, so I created my own, which is not quite as good as the one I saw, but very close.
by Stan at 5:16 PM
Yet another staunch liberal college student writes for more heavy gun regulation, immediately after its fallacy hits him square in the nose.
I just can't grasp how he goes from this:
Single mothers have guns and weary adults who fear gang violence have guns. Citizens who have the constitutional right to bear arms are bearing these arms, but these specific arms are not the arms that go arm in arm with the violence on the streets.To this:
...I absolutely think guns need to be regulated - heavily regulated.After a little more back and forth, he concludes with:
"Let me guess: You think guns don't kill people; you think people kill people. Let me tell you what I think: I think people with guns kill people."So after saying lawful gun owners are not part of the violence on the street, after acknowledging nightly murders and school shootings, and after his friend shows concern for his or her life while walking the streets, the only conclusion must be more gun control. I think his cognitive dissonance is showing.
by Stan at 1:49 PM
Oh, the awful sight of the thing!
A second-grader's artistic effort has got him in trouble.
Seven-year-old Kyle Walker was suspended for one day last week by school officials in Cape May County for drawing a stick figure shooting a gun.
His mother told The Press of Atlantic City that officials at Dennis Township Primary School told her the drawing violated a zero-tolerance policy for guns.
by Stan at 1:43 PM
An excellent opinion piece by Larry Elder on gun-free zones and their inability to prevent, let alone stop, a shooting. Here's a taste:
Israel gets it. Since the 1970s, on school campuses in Israel, policy requires teachers and parent aides to arm themselves with semi-automatic weapons. The result? School shootings have plummeted to zero. [Emphasis added]Read the whole thing.
by Stan at 4:57 PM
I really don't know what to say other than I wish our spies were half as talented as Israel's. But we don't want to get our hands dirty.
Israeli officials believed that a target their forces bombed inside Syria last month was a nuclear facility, because they had detailed photographs taken by a possible spy inside the complex, ABC News has learned.
by Stan at 4:47 PM
What can I say, it's a slow news day:
A kamikaze squirrel fell from the sky and detonated a Bayonne woman's car yesterday, police said today.
Lindsey Millar, 23, and her brother, Tony, 22, were both home Wednesday at about 12:45 p.m. when Lindsey's car suddenly started burning outside their 42nd Street home.
Tony Millar said firefighters told them it was the work of a buck-toothed saboteur that had been gnawing on overhead power lines connected to a transformer directly above the 2006 Toyota Camry.
"The squirrel chewed through the wire, was set on fire, fell down directly to where the car was," Tony Millar said. "The squirrel, on fire, slid into the engine compartment and blew up the car.
by Stan at 4:44 PM
by Stan at 11:54 AM
So a burglar robs this couple's house who were on vacation, trashes the place, gets so comfortable he wears the owner's cap as he rummages around, and gets caught by literally walking in to the owner upon their return. And what happens next is pure gold:
Adrian McKinnon held the suspect, 33-year-old Tajuan Bullock, at gunpoint and told him to sit on the floor until he decided what to do.I could have thought of a few more chores for him to do... with a toothbrush.
"We made this man clean up all the mess he made, piles of stuff, he had thrown out of my drawers and cabi-nets onto the floor," Tiffany McKinnon said.
When police arrived, Bullock complained about being forced to clean the home at gunpoint.
"This man had the nerve to raise sand about us making him clean up the mess he made in my house," she said. "The police officer laughed at him when he complained and said anybody else would have shot him dead."
by Stan at 9:53 PM
So the savior of Pakistan is welcomed with a failed, but brutal assassination attempt. Over 100 dead and counting. I'm not suspecting him, but I seriously doubt President Pervez Musharraf, being on thin ice and all, could get behind something like this.
Two bombs exploded Thursday night just seconds apart and feet from a truck carrying the returning opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, narrowly missing her but killing scores of people and bloodying a triumphal homecoming after eight years in exile.This is not something we Americans can just shrug off, and say, well there's another shit-hole country with problems, whatchagonna do?
Various reports said up to 126 were killed and some 150 were wounded, including civilians and party workers. In the initial chaos, however, the Interior Ministry could only confirm 70 deaths.
by Stan at 7:24 PM
The weakest link.
Republican Sam Brownback will drop out of the 2008 presidential campaign on Friday, people close to the Kansas senator said Thursday.
Brownback, a longshot conservative contender, had trouble raising money to compete in the race. He is expected announce his withdrawal in Topeka, Kan.
by Stan at 1:55 PM
Mitt knows how to say the right things; it's just too bad he doesn't have the record to back up the rhetoric:
"The governor believes we ought to withdraw completely from the U.N. Human Rights Council, and that means ending our financial support in addition to not seeking a seat on the council," Fehrnstrom said. "We should not legitimize the council, either with financial or diplomatic support."Bingo. Considering the Human Rights Council is a good example of human rights violators, Romney is on solid ground here.
Romney also said he would support a new "coalition of the free nations of the world and bring those nations together so that we can act together."
"We should develop some of our own — if you will — forums and alliances or groups that have the ability to actually watch out for the world and do what's right," Romney said.
by Stan at 1:20 PM
Such good sports, the Chinese are:
US Internet search engines in China were being hijacked and directed to Chinese-owned Baidu, analysts said Wednesday, speculating that this may be retaliation for the White House award to exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama.Kind of reminds me of Turkey throwing a conniption fit over the genocide bill. Especially coming after these words;
Analysts at Search Engine Roundtable, a website focusing on Internet search, said Chinese users trying to search on Google, Yahoo and Microsoft websites were being directed to the Chinese search engine.
"It seems like China is fed up with the US, so as a way to fight back, they redirected virtually all search traffic from Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to Baidu, the Chinese based search engine," the analysts wrote.
The United States has "gravely undermined" relations with China by giving the Dalai Lama an award, the Chinese government said Thursday.So, when things are relatively good with the Chinese, they simply hack our military. But when we shed light on their abuses, they hijack our businesses in China. I'm starting to warm to Duncan Hunter's idea of reciprocal trade practices.
by Stan at 12:56 PM
I could be snarky, but at least the cops like the one in this story are concentrating on physical superiority when dealing with resistant criminals, rather than other means.
It doesn't justify steroids, but some neighborhoods aren't simply going to go from cesspool to exemplary until we take on the drug epidemic and African Americans' collective hatred of cops.
But someone tell me how the legalization of crack-cocaine and heroine, the most addictive and damaging drugs in America, is going to make things better? If it has to do with the liberty to kill oneself in the most societally destructive way possible, do me a favor and don't comment.
by Stan at 12:24 PM
It keeps your head warm in the winter, it's pleasing to fundamentalist Muslims, and it's easier to rob banks:
Someone dressed in a burgundy burka walked into the People’s Bank at 3:45 p.m. Tuesday, showed the teller a handgun and demanded money.Via Jawa Report
The robber then took off down N.C. 90 in a burgundy sport utility vehicle.
Authorities are looking into whether this bank robbery can be connected to one in Morganton.
by Stan at 12:19 PM
"You don't have money to fund the war on children. But you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people if he can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the President's amusement."How very professional of you Congressman Fortney “Pete” Stark. I have some words for you, but I don't have the protection of the Speech or Debate Clause, nor do I have the ability to compartmentalize my civility when it's convenient, so lucky you.
by Stan at 11:56 AM
Maybe now someone will listen.
Latinos are good people. They aren't in lock step with liberals because they've been told they're an oppressed minority, that Whitey's keeping 'em down. Most I know are relatively conservative, apolitical, and would vote for whoever is the stronger leader.
This is a group Republicans don't have to win over with government handouts and amnesty.
by Stan at 12:16 AM
Why do I find this not surprising:
According to the solitary news source I found searching Google News, which probably got all of its information from blogs, the man did nothing more than videotape the police engaged in a warrantless search, and was tasered because he refused to drop the camera, which you know, "could be used as a weapon."
A lawsuit is the least that should happen. A public apology, a few firings, and more civil liberty training I think are in order.
by Stan at 11:50 PM
Kind of makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Well look at the bright side, at least those calling the U.S. an evil hegemony manipulating the world economy, can't really say that anymore.
The expansion of ties between Iraq and Iran comes as the United States and Iran clash on nuclear issues and about what American officials have repeatedly said is Iranian support for armed groups in Iraq. American officials have charged that Iranians, through the international military wing known as the Quds Force, are particularly active in support of elite elements of the Mahdi Army, a militia largely controlled by Mr. Sadr.I'm a libertarian until its dogma crosses into the suicidal. Not even Ron Paul would accept a bid on our military computer contracts from China, so why, if we have to stay there for security, do we have Iraq bidding out over a billion in contracts to our enemies? Because they're sovereign? If that's the case we need to leave, because then they're obviously safe enough to handle spitting on us, while we handle their security.
An American military official in Baghdad said that while he had no specific knowledge of the power plant contracts, any expansion of Iranian interests was a concern for the military here.
“We are of course carefully watching Iran’s overall presence here in Iraq,” the military official said. “As you know, it’s not always as it appears. Their Quds Force routinely uses the cover of a business to mask their real purpose as an intelligence operative.”
by Stan at 11:06 PM
From the Washington Times:
A Mexican national infected with a highly contagious form of tuberculosis crossed the U.S. border 76 times and took multiple domestic flights in the last year, according to Customs and Border Protection interviews and documents obtained by The Washington Times.Homeland insecurity inaction.
The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency was warned by health officials on April 16 that the frequent traveler was infected, but it took the Homeland Security officials more than six weeks to issue a May 31 alert to warn its own border inspectors, according to Homeland Security sources who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution. Homeland Security took one more week to tell its own Transportation Security Agency.
by Stan at 3:29 PM
DNA Scientist: Blacks less intelligent than Whites
And he's a Democrat.
by Stan at 1:52 PM
Now that it's been confirmed by outside analysts, and a brief comment from a Syrian official, which of course, is now being blamed on a misquote, nuclear proliferation is already underway. What the U.S. and the rest of the Western world do with Iran will have serious consequences. Inaction will mean tacit acceptance of proliferation, and it'd simply be a matter of time before Israeli intel misses one.
by Stan at 1:36 PM
Sure why not.
But I think this New York Times blog takes it way too seriously.
by Stan at 1:33 PM
Sharia law and consequently, disarmament:
Under the Ottoman Empire, Armenians, who are mostly Christian, had not been allowed to own firearms. This was standard practice for Christians and Jews throughout the Empire, under sharia law for the “Dhimmi” — Christians and Jews (and sometimes other faiths) who were allowed to retain their religion, provided that they lived in subordination.Via David Hardy
by Stan at 1:47 PM
A Scranton woman who allegedly shouted profanities at her overflowing toilet within earshot of a neighbor was cited for disorderly conduct, authorities said.And get this, her neighbor who called the cops, was in fact, a cop.
Dawn Herb could face up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $300.
by Stan at 12:33 PM
My headline is a bit misleading, as the House voted to continue the ban on internet access tax 405-2, and there's really no immediate threat of such a tax. But the trouble is Democrats fearing the day the internet encompasses all economic activity leaving them much more powerless to redistribute wealth should a permanent ban be made law.
"I think it would be a serious mistake to make this a permanent moratorium ... because we don't have a clue standing here today what the capacity of the Internet is," said Rep. Melvin Watt (D-N.C.). "By four years from now, everything in life may be being done on the Internet. We might have a virtual world out there, and we may not be able to tax anything under the moratorium."The internet is the future of most economic activity, and to tax access to it is highly counterintuitive, if not outright anti-growth. That doesn't matter to the Dems as much as what they see as an opportunity for massively expanding the government budget and control. If there is a time to make it permanent, it's now.
by Stan at 12:16 PM
The sunken ship thought to be Blackbeard's has been researched for 10 years, and Monday, they pulled out a cannon:
by Stan at 12:09 PM
Retired school teacher Kathleen Casey-Kirschling on Monday became the first ripple in a "silver tsunami" of retiring baby boomers applying for pension benefits that threatens to overwhelm U.S. government finances.Thank goodness our government took the necessary precautions. Oh wait.
Casey-Kirschling was born one second after midnight on January 1, 1946, and will receive her first Social Security check in February 2008 as the first wave of baby boomers turns 62 next year and becomes eligible for early retirement benefits.
Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue said the agency is bracing for some 80 million Americans to apply for retirement benefits over the next two decades.
by Stan at 3:40 PM
So California passed and the Governator signed an awful and misguided gun control bill, pardon the redundancy.
In other news, Ted Kennedy is still a liberal.
by Stan at 1:51 PM
Our immigration nightmare isn't just about Americans' well-being. As we are nation sympathetic to Cuban refugees, where we essentially spit on them with what looks like preferred migration from Mexico.
It took Mr. Savater almost four days to reach the Mexican island of Isla Mujeres in a rickety boat made from wood, fiberglass and aluminum, powered by a jerry-rigged motor used for irrigating fields. The 15 men and one woman with him took turns bailing.So much easier than sailing directly to Florida. Whatever works right?
“Its extremely dangerous,” Mr. Savater recounted in a recent interview from Cancún. “I saw myself dead. I suffered a lot.”
But his next step was far easier: a flight to the United States-Mexican border, with the help of money wired from relatives in south Florida. Some American officials are calling this new approach — Cubans strolling up to desert border stations and seeking political asylum — dusty foot.
The new route is not just diverting migrants. Smugglers are shifting too, resulting in turf battles that are believed to be behind a string of murders in recent months of Cuban nationals in the Yucatán. The same place that Cubans are coming ashore is crisscrossed by narcotics traffickers and there is fear that the two businesses could merge.
by Stan at 1:29 PM
I agree with the bill and think it's a step forward for American foreign policy in general. I think Turkey is wrong for whining about it and more wrong for not owning up for it's role in Armenian genocide. But I do question the timing, and underlying motivation:
The resolution has strained U.S. relations with Turkey and drawn criticism from the Bush administration.I don't know what could be more damning of a politician's patriotism, to alienate key allies, seriously risk the lives and goal of our troops, our interests abroad, and national security for political reasons. I just have trouble believing Nancy Pelosi, and a number of Democrats and Republicans are guilty of such treason.
"This resolution is one that is consistent with what our government has always said about ... what happened at that time," Pelosi said on ABC's "This Week."
When asked about criticism that it could harm relations with Turkey -- a key ally in the war in Iraq and a fellow member of NATO -- Pelosi said, "There's never been a good time," adding that it is important to pass the resolution now "because many of the survivors are very old."
by Stan at 1:07 PM
Since I'm talking about good news I might as well link this:
A turning point came in 2002, scientists conclude Monday in the annual "Report to the Nation" on cancer. Between 2002 and 2004, death rates dropped by an average of 2.1 percent a year.
That may not sound like much, but between 1993 and 2001, deaths rates dropped on average 1.1 percent a year.
The big change was a two-pronged gain against colorectal cancer.
by Stan at 1:02 PM
Counting the low numbers of deaths in Iraq, coupled with this report, I think we may be seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, that is of course if Turkey plays nice:
There is widespread agreement that AQI has suffered major blows over the past three months. Among the indicators cited is a sharp drop in suicide bombings, the group's signature attack, from more than 60 in January to around 30 a month since July. Captures and interrogations of AQI leaders over the summer had what a senior military intelligence official called a "cascade effect," leading to other killings and captures.Nevertheless, we should pull out now. You know, because it was an unjust war, because the Iraqis can adapt and take better care of the situation the moment we leave, because Iraq has nothing to do with our security, let alone our allies', and because we owe them nothing.
by Stan at 12:53 PM
The WaPo has something, and I don't know how I missed it, wait... Yeah, I don't subscribe to the WaPo and the righty blogs are ignoring this wholesale. I guess I should read the WaPo earlier in the day and more often. But this story, if true, is just, wow:
A former Qwest Communications International executive, appealing a conviction for insider trading, has alleged that the government withdrew opportunities for contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars after Qwest refused to participate in an unidentified National Security Agency program that the company thought might be illegal.I'm increasingly having a hard time believing we need mass legalization of speedy surveillance unencumbered by warrants. I'm sure there are times when it's needed, after all, I sure wouldn't let some pesky law get in the way of what I knew was vital to saving thousands of lives. But it's a gray area when that factual knowledge becomes a somewhat more subjective sense of probability. That's for the lawmakers to hash out. The issue here is the alleged unethical use of massive government contracts as persuasion to aid in what is most likely, an illegal program. Here's a tip to the next spy-prone administration, when you want help for a constitutionally questionable program, don't make it worse with what approaches outright bribery.
Former chief executive Joseph P. Nacchio, convicted in April of 19 counts of insider trading, said the NSA approached Qwest more than six months before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to court documents unsealed in Denver this week.
Nacchio's account, which places the NSA proposal at a meeting on Feb. 27, 2001, suggests that the Bush administration was seeking to enlist telecommunications firms in programs without court oversight before the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon. The Sept. 11 attacks have been cited by the government as the main impetus for its warrantless surveillance efforts.Double wow. We have the Bush Administration invoking 9/11 as one damn good reason to have warantless surveillance, which the WaPo may have just blown out of the water. Some might recall a similar melee:
In the May 11 article that revealed the database, USA TODAY reported that its sources said AT&T, BellSouth and Verizon had agreed to provide the NSA with call records.That was from last summer. If the Bush Administration had all of the above on board since February of 2001, I'd like to say 9/11 isn't much of a reason to justify warrantless surveillance. But I could be very wrong.
by Stan at 3:32 PM
The long-standing rivalry between Coke and Pepsi took a physical turn Friday when a Pepsi deliveryman allegedly punched his Coke counterpart in the face at a western Pennsylvania Wal-Mart, state police said.
by Stan at 9:47 PM
I'm not terribly impressed, but more online streaming TV is cool.
Unlike Youtube, JumpTV.com is a site with streaming television channels, not uploaded videos.
JumpTV is great for those not in the U.S., and good for those interested in the World Cup. There were only two channels out of the United States, and unless you were told they were American channels, you wouldn't think so.
But hey, free online TV is always cool, plus I got to see a base jumper jump from the tallest building and the perform the shortest jump from Christ's hand.
by Stan at 6:39 PM
by Stan at 2:05 PM
The letter signed by 41 Democratic Senators condemning Rush Limbaugh's statements which spurred the "Phony Soldiers" controversy, sent to the CEO of Clear Channel Communications, is now up for bid on E-Bay. The money will go to a Marines charity.
by Stan at 8:35 PM
Get submissions in before too late, here, or email to
freeconstitution at gmail.com
by Stan at 4:47 PM
For the money of course:
A dentist accused of fondling the breasts of 27 female patients is trying to keep his dental license by arguing that chest massages are an appropriate procedure in certain cases. Mark Anderson's lawyer says dental journals discuss the need to massage the pectoral muscles to treat a common jaw problem.Reminds me of a Seinfeld episode.
Police say Anderson said during recorded phone calls that he routinely massaged patients' chests to treat temporo-mandibular joint disorder, or TMJ, which causes neck and head pain.
by Stan at 4:16 PM
It's nothing major, but still good news:
South Medford High School English teacher Shirley Katz won the first round of her legal bout for the right to carry a pistol onto school grounds today.The case should be open and shut. Notwithstanding the right to arms, a school district cannot override state law, which protects CCW holders carrying on school property.
Jackson County Circuit Judge G. Philip Arnold dismissed a motion by the Medford School District to dismiss the case because she has not actually broken the school policy prohibiting teachers from bringing guns to school.
by Stan at 3:43 PM
Oil for Food and a bribing mood.
A Russian diplomat who once chaired a U.N. budget committee was sentenced on Friday to more than four years in prison for helping launder more than $300,000 in bribes and taking a share of the money.Needless to say, Russia is crying foul over his arrest and treatment. Pot, Kettle...
Vladimir Kuznetsov, 50, was found guilty in March of a single count of money laundering in a case that grew out of a criminal investigation into corruption into the now-defunct $64 billion humanitarian oil-for-food program for Iraq.
U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts sentenced Kuznetsov to 51 months in prison and fined him more than $73,000.
by Stan at 2:17 PM
Good roundup here.
So, now it's cool to legitimize the idolization of anti-corporate hypocrisy?
by Stan at 1:59 PM
Last Update: Many of you came here looking for the photo of Asa Coon taken by police after he committed suicide. I do not recommend it, but if you must, the death photo is here. If it gets taken down, you're out of luck.
: The blog at Cleveland.com which has covered this story more extensively than I have, has acquired photographs of Asa Coon. Below is one of them.
by Stan at 8:24 PM
I'm beginning to think the Republicans have a lot of money down on Hillary as the next president. Either that, or the Republican Party forgot there was an election in 2008 and hastily assembled some token opposition.
I mean, look at the headlines. Change of course in Iraq, Universal Healthcare, $5000 bond for newborns, cutting college costs, etc.
All are Democrat ideas, and to the apolicital, they all have a nice ring to them.
What of the Republicans? The only thing making headlines is what bad thing one Republican said about another and how well they're doing in the polls. Sure motivates me to take time off from work and go vote Republican.
The Democrats are catching the Republicans flat footed. The only thing the Republicans are catching are Z's.
by Stan at 8:00 PM
In another characteristically audacious move, Ann Coulter says Jews need to be perfected. But was it really so offensive.
Maybe. See for yourself...
COULTER: Well, OK, take the Republican National Convention. People were happy. They're Christian. They're tolerant. They defend America, they —Offensive? Depends on how you look at it.
DEUTSCH: Christian — so we should be Christian? It would be better if we were all Christian?
DEUTSCH: We should all be Christian?
COULTER: Yes. Would you like to come to church with me, Donny?
DEUTSCH: So I should not be a Jew, I should be a Christian, and this would be a better place?
COULTER: Well, you could be a practicing Jew, but you're not.
DEUTSCH: I actually am. That's not true. I really am. But — so we would be better if we were — if people — if there were no Jews, no Buddhists —
COULTER: Whenever I'm harangued by —
DEUTSCH: — in this country? You can't believe that.
COULTER: — you know, liberals on diversity —
DEUTSCH: Here you go again.
COULTER: No, it's true. I give all of these speeches at megachurches across America, and the one thing that's really striking about it is how utterly, completely diverse they are, and completely unself-consciously. You walk past a mixed-race couple in New York, and it's like they have a chip on their shoulder. They're just waiting for somebody to say something, as if anybody would.
DEUTSCH: That isn't what I said, but you said I should not — we should just throw Judaism away and we should all be Christians, then, or —
COULTER: Well, it's a lot easier. It's kind of a fast track.
COULTER: Yeah. You have to obey.
DEUTSCH: You can't possibly believe that.
DEUTSCH: You can't possibly — you're too educated, you can't — you're like my friend in —
COULTER: Do you know what Christianity is? We believe your religion, but you have to obey.
DEUTSCH: No, no, no, but I mean —
COULTER: We have the fast-track program.
DEUTSCH: Why don't I put you with the head of Iran? I mean, come on. You can't believe that.
COULTER: The head of Iran is not a Christian.
DEUTSCH: No, but in fact, "Let's wipe Israel" —
COULTER: I don't know if you've been paying attention.
DEUTSCH: "Let's wipe Israel off the earth." I mean, what, no Jews?
COULTER: No, we think — we just want Jews to be perfected, as they say.
DEUTSCH: Wow, you didn't really say that, did you?
COULTER: Yes. That is what Christianity is. We believe the Old Testament, but ours is more like Federal Express. You have to obey laws. We know we're all sinners —
DEUTSCH: In my old days, I would have argued — when you say something absurd like that, there's no —
COULTER: What's absurd?
DEUTSCH: Jews are going to be perfected. I'm going to go off and try to perfect myself —
COULTER: Well, that's what the New Testament says.
Coming from a political guru from a political perspective, yes I would say that's offensive. From a religious point of view, that's pretty much mainstream, comparable to any religion. I mean what good is a religion if that religion is not the most or the only righteous path? Coming from Coulter, who's no pastor, I'd say she's scraping the bottom of the barrel for new ways to shock. I mean I'm not terribly outraged if an Imam told me I was going to Hell for being an infidel, but I would be slightly pissed if CAIR representatives told me that on a political talk show.
by Stan at 1:05 PM
Bumped to the top. Scroll for updates.
Now that more facts have been released, and the story is much more clear, many issues arise as they commonly do in the aftermath of school shootings.
The most recurring theme among school shooters is a history of violence and/or serious problems.
Asa H. Coon was no exception:
According to court records, back in 1998 Asa was involved in a neglect case. The details are unclear but social workers say Asa who was around five at the time had burns on different parts of his body.
In 2006, Asa was brought into juvenile court facing domestic violence charges. He ended up in a juvenile detention home and later was given probation and home monitoring. (WKYC.com)---
[Asa] had a history of mental health problems, including aggressive behavior. He also threatened to commit suicide last year while in the care of a mental health facility...
He was suspended from school last year for attempting to cause physical harm to another student. (Cleveland Metro News)---
The boy was described by other students as a loner and devil worshipper who had made jokes about shooting other students in front of teachers.To top it off, Coon was currently on suspension for fighting.
...police had visited his home for other reasons on a number of occasions, McGrath said. (AFP Chicago)---
A fellow student at SuccessTech Academy alternative school said the shooter, who was suspended for fighting two days earlier, had made threats in front of students and teachers last week.
"He's crazy. He threatened to blow up our school. He threatened to stab everybody," Doneisha LeVert said. "We didn't think nothing of it." (AP)
"You never know what's going on in someone's mind," said Deberry, who said she was required to go through a metal detector and present an identification card whenever she wanted to drop off something at school for her children.The second issue and also a recurring theme is the fallacy of the "gun free zone."
Asa Coon grew up in a family where violence seemed commonplace. His older brother, Stephen, was twice charged with both domestic violence and assault by the time he was 13. He was recently released from prison.
Court records show that his father's whereabouts are largely unknown.
The Department of Children and Family Services was called to the Coon home in 2000 because Asa had burns on his arms and scratches on his forehead.
When he was 12, Asa was charged in Juvenile Court with domestic violence. His mother, Lori, had called the police and told them that Asa slapped her and called her a vulgar name. She had been trying to intervene in a fight between Asa and his twin sister Nicole.
"He's a very hyper kid," said Rachel Metzger, who lives near the Coons. "He's constantly yelling at his mom or anybody else. He's pretty violent."
Update: This myspace page looks like a fake.
by Stan at 12:23 PM
At least they have that over Republicans, who seem only able to complain about what the Democrats want to do, as if they'd already accepted defeat.
But sometimes the Democrats have some really entertaining ideas, and all one can do is watch:
By now, everyone knows Rep. Charles B. Rangel is poised to introduce the “mother” of all tax reforms, the biggest and most expensive tax code overhaul since 1986. But what they don’t know is how the New York Democrat plans to pay the more than $1 trillion price tag...The next part of the show is the disappearing act. Where your money goes, nobody knows.
Repealing the AMT would reduce federal tax revenue by more than $800 billion over the next 10 years — and that’s assuming the Bush tax cuts expire in 2010. With the tax cuts in place, the costs would near $1 trillion.
by Stan at 9:42 AM
Yes, they're our important ally with a strategic location in the fight against terror and in stabilizing Iraq, but quite frankly, we've been burned too many times by ignoring the obvious shortcomings in our allies. That's partly why this bill is a step forward for American foreign policy.
Turkey's head of state protested a U.S. congressional panel decision to approve a bill calling the World War I-era killings of Armenians a genocide, saying the decision came as a result of "petty domestic politics."Bush is right, insofar that it will hurt relations, which is just too bad. How very un-neoconish of him.
Despite earlier protests Wednesday in Turkey and opposition by U.S. President George W. Bush, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed the bill by a 27-21 vote — a move likely to be considered an insult by most Turks.
Bush had warned that the bill could harm U.S.-Turkish relations.
by Stan at 6:17 PM
I hate cats. I'm not ignorant on this serious matter, as my experience with the cats and dogs I've had has been revealing.
Sure, cats are nice companions once and a while, when they feel like it. But should a certain mood strike them felines, you're at their complete mercy.
My dogs on the other hand, would jump into a fiery volcano at my whim, without hesitation.
by Stan at 3:54 PM
One unidentified student told MSNBC that the gunman wore a black trench coat, reminiscent of the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado. The boy was frequently involved in fights, the student said. (LA Times)And this:
Fox19.com has a good summary, photos and video:
Coon removed his slacks and a red and gray hooded sweatshirt and put on black jeans and Marilyn Manson concert T-shirt, Smith said."I don't know what I was thinking, he said. "I didn't want him to shoot me." (Cleveland Metro News)
When Smith saw Coon load a gun, he left but didn't tell a teacher.
Four people have been shot at Success Tech Academy, a Cleveland High School, at East 14th and Lakeside Avenue, police say.Latest from Reuters:
Cleveland police say the shooter who opened fire is dead, and it appears he shot himself.
One shooting victim has been taken to Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, and three victims have been taken to Metro Health Medical Center.
Two adults and two students were shot and wounded at a high school near downtown Cleveland, officials said on Wednesday, and local media said the suspected shooter, also believed to be a student, was dead.NY Daily News says there are three shot, but I think they assumed that from the number of people carried out on stretchers.
Mayor Frank Jackson said that two men aged 42 and 57 and two male students ages 17 and 14 had been shot but provided no other details.
"All the children are in stable, good condition," Jackson told reporters, adding that the two adults were in a more "elevated" condition.
"They have the shooter," he said without elaborating.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer quoting police sources said the shooter, who it had identified earlier as a 14-year-old boy, was dead but gave no details on how he died.
Jackson also said a third student, a 14-year-old girl, was injured in a fall during the incident at SuccessTech Academy, a specialized school that concentrates on math and technology.
by Stan at 1:08 PM
I'm a bit under the weather today, but I thought I'd link to this story. And the part that really spurred me to write this:
Smoking will still be allowed in single-family homes and their yards, and units and yards in apartment buildings, condominiums and townhouses that do not share any common floors or ceilings with other units. [emphasis added]Since when is government the sole proprietor of freedom, to allow it and disallow it at their whim? This kind of thinking behind most Americans' view of government is unsettling. The other day I had to correct a person for thinking that the government is the granter of rights.
by Stan at 11:09 AM
It was better than I expected, which really isn't saying much.
MSN has video of the entire debate, just click:
by Stan at 1:14 PM
Now that I'm back to regular blogging, and have a more permitting schedule, I'll host another edition of the Second Amendment Carnival. It'll be here Saturday, the 13th. But I need your help.
Bloggers and blog readers alike are free to submit 2nd Amendment blog posts they find interesting or otherwise important here or by email to freeconstitution at gmail.com
by Stan at 3:40 PM
Like everybody realizes today, we're too physically strong to invade traditionally, but very weak in academia and in the legal system.
The president wants to enforce a decision by the International Court of Justice that found the convictions of Medellin and 50 other Mexican-born prisoners violated their rights to legal help as outlined in the 1963 Vienna Convention.Via Hot Air.
That is the same court Bush has since said he plans to ignore if it makes similar decisions affecting state criminal laws.
by Stan at 12:55 PM
Pulitzer winning columnist Maureen Dowd wrote a clever piece (well, approaching 5th-grade cleverness), so insightful (pertaining to what the NYT deems printable), and funny (if you hate successful conservative blacks), that this blogger cannot in good conscience ignore.
Dowd writes the entire article from the fictional perspective of Clarence Thomas (clever I told you!), and proceeds to tell a tale of racial betrayal and hypocrisy, while the bestowed authority of Supreme Court Judgeship fertilizes what grows into a massive tyrannical ego. For every ounce of truth there's a pound of satire.
Seriously, I'm not very good at writing satire, but I know it's a good defense for bad opinions. The examples abound, but what disingenuousness the Daily Show can get away with, the New York Times should not. Taking minor amounts of facts and turning them into a political argument, deserves no praise. Though an opinion-piece is just that, opinion, the very purpose thereof, especially when aimed at large audiences, is not entertainment, rather it's persuasion.
Maybe it's because I'm jealous. I mean, I wish I could take cheap shots at prominent figures from behind the impenetrable shield of satire. Or maybe it's because Ms. Dowd couldn't make her implied claims of hypocrisy, racial betrayal, and corruption in an honest fashion subject to scrutiny.
Who knows, with a little work on my satirical skills, I think I'll have a chance at winning a Pulitzer prize.
by Stan at 8:47 PM
Just like wrecks in NASCAR, I'm also guilty of enjoying this sort of thing. The moment is then made perfect when he just walks it off.
by Stan at 4:26 PM
This is interesting, Wyoming squares off against BATFE:
The state has been waging a legal fight to uphold a 2004 state law that allows people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence to regain their right to own a firearm by having their record expunged.Did you read that right. The BATFE objects because of a mere technicality. I'm sure. And as part of this principled technicality-based objection, the BATFE will:
Although all states have the authority to restore gun rights, the federal government objected to the Wyoming law. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it would not recognize the state's law, arguing convictions were not being truly expunged because they can be used to enhance a sentence in a subsequent case.
...no longer recognize more than 10,000 Wyoming concealed weapons permits as a substitute for federal background checks for firearms purchases. Such background checks are required under the federal Brady Act.Essentially holding the law abiding concealed carry permit holders ransom, in exchange for Wyoming's submission. Classy.
by Stan at 9:49 PM
The old Descartes phrase, "I think, therefore I am" may take on a whole new meaning very soon, as a genetic scientist says he's about to create artificial life:
Craig Venter, the controversial DNA researcher involved in the race to decipher the human genetic code, has built a synthetic chromosome out of laboratory chemicals and is poised to announce the creation of the first new artificial life form on Earth.Now maybe my computer will be able to understand me before I throw the mouse into the monitor.
The announcement, which is expected within weeks and could come as early as Monday at the annual meeting of his scientific institute in San Diego, California, will herald a giant leap forward in the development of designer genomes. It is certain to provoke heated debate about the ethics of creating new species and could unlock the door to new energy sources and techniques to combat global warming.
Mr Venter told the Guardian he thought this landmark would be "a very important philosophical step in the history of our species. We are going from reading our genetic code to the ability to write it. That gives us the hypothetical ability to do things never contemplated before".
by Stan at 4:23 PM
Regarding MTSU's gun ban: "...MTSU police Sgt. Brett Huskey told senators more guns would only create more confusion during an incident."
David quips: "That's why the first thing Brett is going to do in a campus shooting is throw away his gun. Wouldn't want to 'create more confusion'..."
by Stan at 8:29 AM
Signs of a rift in liberal thought? One could only hope, as these encouraging words of Mike Thomas of the Orlando Sentinal urging citizens to arm themselves, and with Jonathan Turley of the WaPo the same day acknowledging the right to arms as an individual right.
Thomas on gun control:
After examining 51 studies on various gun-control laws, including mandatory waiting periods, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded in 2003 that there was "insufficient evidence" to say they reduced gun violence.Good on Thomas for resisting hoplophobia and more harmful feel-goodiness. Now go arm thyself, and oil and ogle.
It seems we pass laws that feel good without a lot of proof they are doing any good.
Maybe I need a good slap from Ted Kennedy, but I almost buy the National Rifle Association argument that the primary target of gun-control laws would be the people who shoot them at ranges, then lovingly oil and ogle them before safely locking them up.
As far as keeping guns away from bad guys, gun-control laws work as well as crack cocaine-control laws. My footnoted reference on this would be our crime blog.
by Stan at 5:49 PM