I Have Done Been Miracled....


Posted on : 7/02/2010 04:50:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

....into the Democratic Party.  'Cause trust me, divine intervention is required to make that happen these days.

But if this represents the thinking amongst the GOP leadership, then they have lost whatever marginal support that I was able to muster in the past.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele was caught on video at a fundraiser in Connecticut on Thursday raising doubts about the war in Afghanistan.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) pushed out the video, which shows Steele saying that the war is of "Obama's choosing" and that it is nearly impossible to win a land war in the Central Asian country.

"Keep in mind again, federal candidates, this was a war of Obama's choosing. This was not something that the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in," he said. "But it was the president who was trying to be cute by half by building a script demonizing Iraq, while saying the battle really should be in Afghanistan. Well, if he is such a student of history, has he not understood that you know that's the one thing you don't do, is engage in a land war in Afghanistan?"

My panties....they done been twisted.

One of the areas where I have been very pleased to support Mr. Obama is his administration's strong support for our campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Not unlike his predecessor, there are times when he and his administration could have done a better job.  But they have largely stayed the course to victory in Iraq.  Hopefully they will do the same in Afghanistan.

These Folks Just Do Not 'Get' Living In The West


Posted on : 7/02/2010 04:49:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Perhaps they don't want to.

Afshan Azad, who has appeared in four of the [Harry Potter] films as one of the wizard’s screen girlfriends Padma Patil, hails from a strict Muslim family.

She was allegedly attacked at her parents’ home ­after she had started dating the new lad.

Her dad Abdul, 54, has appeared in court accused of threatening to kill her. The actress’s brother Ashraf, 28, faces the same charge and an allegation that he assaulted her causing actual bodily harm.

Perhaps that is the problem we need to be solving.

A Moose Is Loose


Posted on : 7/01/2010 05:11:00 PM | By : Dann | In : ,

As a courtesy to the sanity of my readers, permit me to offer the following; baby moose in the sprinkler.

I Try.....And Sometimes I Fail


Posted on : 7/01/2010 05:10:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Ta-Nehsi Coates, writer for the Atlantic whom I have come to read frequently, enjoy immensely, and with whom I disagree on a wide range of subjects, offers the following thoughts regarding written criticism in the wake of the Dave Weigel/Washington Post affair.

With that in mind, a few quick words on my own approach to this matter. A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of having dinner with James Fallows, along with a few other Atlantic folks. Fallows offered some really wise words on how to criticize people in print, the gist of it being, "Speak to those you would criticize as though they were standing right there."

That's a high standard, but one I've generally tried to maintain. My sense of my role here is as follows: I'm not here to try to humiliate people I disagree with. That goes as much for Jeff Goldberg, who is my friend, as it goes for Bob McDonnell, who is not. For sure there is a little more hot sauce on the thing, when I don't know the person. But by and by, I hope to speak to McDonnell as I would speak to Goldberg--not the other way around.

It's fun to be mean, and it makes your side howl--and sometimes it's even necessary. But  my game is as follows--stating my opinions directly, clearly and without equivocation and without undue malice.

A high standard of discourse indeed.

And yet today I find myself tempted by the following bon mot:

In sum total, what you people did was drive someplace where there wasn't a problem, complain about something you don't fully understand, get in the way of people who may actually be performing a function, and then do nothing, en masse, except hope that someone else notices your little snit and makes it all better.

My god, if there's a more perfect metaphor for the modern progressive movement, I've never seen it.

Emphases in the original.

I am privileged to know a fair number of intelligent people that are a bit left of me politically.  I am also aware of the many reactionary, reflexive, and unthinking people on the right.

Yet there is an underlying truth to the above.  I have sadly come to expect nonsense will follow whenever I hear the word "progressive", or the phrase "speaking truth to power", or similar leftist twaddle.  Sadder still, I am rarely disappointed in that expectation.

I try to think the best of all of my fellow Americans regardless of their opinions.  I hope that what animates their politics is a desire to improve our nation and our world.  I try to remain at least open enough to hear their point of view before presenting my own.

Today...momentarily...I failed.

Distrust In Our Government's Abilities - The Oily Edition


Posted on : 7/01/2010 05:08:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Governments, as with companies and with people, are productive at addressing a limited set of issues.  The latest example of a government operating beyond its abilities is the tragic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Immediately after news of the spill broke, the Dutch government offered the use of their oil skimming ships to help contain the spill.  Our government declined the offer.  These ships take in a mixture of oil and seawater and dump nearly oil-free seawater overboard.  The reclaimed oil can presumably be taken ashore for further processing.

Why weren't we using those Dutch ships?  Because "nearly oil-free" does not meet the EPA's stringent requirement that all discharges into the Gulf be 99.9985% pure.

American oil skimmers transport tanks full of oil and sea water to shore for processing.  That is an incredibly wasteful process given the rate that oil is spilling into the Gulf.

Eventually, our government decided to use the Dutch technology.  But rather than have Dutch ships operating off our coast, we insisted on removing the equipment from the Dutch ships and installing it on American ships.  Rather than having experience Dutch operators, we insisted on training American workers.  A process that created an additional delay in getting the equipment into action.

Our government has grown too large, too entrenched, too enamored of protecting the provincial interests of a plethora of government agencies, bureaus, offices, and departments to respond effectively to any crisis.

Why do I distrust our leviathan federal government?  Because of the demonstrably poor results it routinely provides.

h/t to Ace of Spades

I Am Afraid......


Posted on : 7/01/2010 08:40:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

.....and while reading things like this may help me understand the fear, it does nothing to relieve it.

Justices Denied


Posted on : 7/01/2010 07:52:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Jacob Sullen over at Reason points out the hypocrisy involved by members of the Supreme Court that oppose granting the Second Amendment equal footing with the rest of the Bill of Rights.

If "the people" want to ban handguns, they say, "the people" should be allowed to implement that desire through their elected representatives.

What if the people want to ban books that offend them, establish an official church, or authorize police to conduct warrantless searches at will? Those options are also foreclosed by constitutional provisions that apply to the states by way of the 14th Amendment. The crucial difference between a pure democracy and a constitutional democracy like ours is that sometimes the majority does not decide.
Likewise, Stevens defends "state and local legislatures' right to experiment," while Breyer is loath to interfere with "the ability of States to reflect local preferences and conditions—both key virtues of federalism." Coming from justices who think Congress can disregard state decisions about the medical use of marijuana because a plant on the windowsill of a cancer patient qualifies as interstate commerce, this sudden concern about federalism is hard to take seriously.

Another reason to doubt the dissenters' sincerity: They would never accept federalism as a rationale for letting states "experiment" with freedom of speech, freedom of religion, or due process protections. Much of their job, as they themselves see it, involves overriding "local preferences" that give short shrift to constitutional rights.

Second Amendment rights are different, Breyer says, because "determining the constitutionality of a particular state gun law requires finding answers to complex empirically based questions." So does weighing the claims in favor of banning child pornography or depictions of animal cruelty, relaxing the Miranda rule, admitting illegally obtained evidence, or allowing warrantless pat-downs, dog sniffs, or infrared surveillance.

When they decide whether a law or practice violates a constitutional right, courts cannot avoid empirical questions. In cases involving racial discrimination or content-based speech restrictions, for example, they ask whether the challenged law is "narrowly tailored to serve a compelling state interest" and is the "least restrictive means" of doing so.

h/t to the blogfather

Did The Coffee House Depicted in "Nighthawks" Really Exist


Posted on : 6/30/2010 09:23:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Did it?

Yet Another Quiz


Posted on : 6/30/2010 06:52:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

My score:

Economic Left/Right: 4.12
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -2.92

Here's the link if you are interested.  Although most of the questions are rubbish designed to cause a specific reactionary answer.  A lot of the information presented on the "score" page is garbage as well.


The Rahn Curve And You


Posted on : 6/29/2010 07:46:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

h/t to the blogfather....

Elana Kagan - Citizen's United - Banning Books Is OK


Posted on : 6/29/2010 07:43:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

In my "stack o' stuff", I have some items related to the Citizens United case recently decided by the Supreme Court.  Fortunately for my loyal readers, I'm not going to delve into it for this post.  I bring up the "stack o' stuff" only to note that I had thought to write at length regarding the decision.

The most important thing I can say today is please take the time to read the full decision before making up your mind about it.  Both the majority and the dissenting minority had some interesting things to say.

One reason why I believe that Citizen's United was decided correctly is because the law in question effectively placed individual citizens in the position of having to ask permission from the government before exercising their First Amendment right to free speech.  That is an unacceptable proposition from my perspective.

I ran across this edited video of Supreme Court nominee Elana Kagan arguing before the Supreme Court on behalf of the government's position in support of the campaign finance laws being challenged before the court.  In her argument before the court, Ms. Kagan argued that it was acceptable for a federal law to ban books because the FEC had never before taken any regulatory action towards a book.

What Ms. Kagan fails to understand is that there is a first time for everything.  She apparently does not understand that each successive instance only becomes easier and easier to justify.  Nor does Ms. Kagan appreciate that the first time she is likely to notice the enforcement of a federal law banning books is when it is a government that is not of her preference [that is] banning a book [that] reflects her perspective.



Posted on : 6/29/2010 07:19:00 PM | By : Dann | In : ,

Daily Kos got burned.  They paid for survey results that turned out to be untrue.

Why the applause? 

Because Markos Moulitsas had the stones to admit that he got taken...in full....in public....in a manner that left not doubt as to what happened from his perspective.  I don't spend much time over at the Daily Kos....for obvious reasons.

But I can easily respect someone that offers a full, transparent account of events in pursuit of an honest, open, and spirited public debate of the issues at hand.

In Ruth's Honor....


Posted on : 6/28/2010 08:45:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,

I'm sure she'll love it.

Putting Lunacy In Its Place


Posted on : 6/28/2010 07:45:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

I am not a fan of police brutality.  Nor am I a supporter of the idea that the police ought to be given a little "leeway" in the performance of their duties.  There is a line between the legitimate performance of their duties enforcing the laws that the people have established and an unacceptable abuse of a position of authority.  It shall not be crossed.

It gets crossed anyway.  No one should think otherwise.

With that caveat aside, I think it may be time to let loose the dogs of war on the self professed "anarchists" that destroy any city that has the poor judgment to host a meeting of the G-20 group of nations.  Invariably, these socialists.....'cause let's admit that they really are advocating socialism rather than anarchy.....turn to breaking windows, burning cop cars, looting stores, and generally destroying as much of the city in question that they can. They never get near the G-20 meeting.  They just march around until the moment seems ripe and the destruction begins.

Toronto is the latest city to burn at their hands.  The police have demonstrated a repeated inability to halt the actual destruction while at the same time harassing peaceful and legitimate onlookers.  The indications of an overwhelmed and frustrated police force are not hard to miss.  Pittsburgh had similar problems when they hosted a G-20 summit.

Take a good look at some of these "protesters".  Do people that turn up with steel bars and gas masks really intend to demonstrate peacefully?

Of course not.

So for the next G-20 summit, perhaps we ought to call out the national guard.  Have them waiting in the wings.  Arm them with the latest in anti-riot armaments.  And when the protesters fail to respond appropriately to the police, let the guard handle the situation.

And if the protesters escalate things by bringing guns to a gun fight.....well the guard knows how to use those as well.

These are not "one time" events.  They are planned for years in advance.  And the people that inevitably pay the price are the people of the host city; with downtown businesses and property owners paying the largest penalty.

The way to stop those years of prior planning is to make rioting an unacceptable option...in their minds.  Quite frankly, the only way to make that happen is to cause them enough pain that they will think of a more constructive and socially acceptable way to express their point of view.

A Lawyer Quits In Disgust


Posted on : 6/27/2010 11:38:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , , ,

J. Christian Adams recently quit his job working for the Voting Rights section of the U. S. Justice Department.  He resigned in disgust over the way the Obama Administration appointees have eroded the principle of equality before the law by directing the dismissal of the cases against New Black Panther party members.

Some of my co-workers argued that the law should not be used against black wrongdoers because of the long history of slavery and segregation. Less charitable individuals called it "payback time." Incredibly, after the case was dismissed, instructions were given that no more cases against racial minorities like the Black Panther case would be brought by the Voting Section.

Refusing to enforce the law equally means some citizens are protected by the law while others are left to be victimized, depending on their race. Core American principles of equality before the law and freedom from racial discrimination are at risk. Hopefully, equal enforcement of the law is still a point of bipartisan, if not universal, agreement. However, after my experience with the New Black Panther dismissal and the attitudes held by officials in the Civil Rights Division, I am beginning to fear the era of agreement over these core American principles has passed.

The quickest way to turn America into a third world country is to undermine the rule of law and the idea that we all stand equal before the law.  Federal voter intimidation cases should not be sought based on skin color.....that of the victims or that of the alleged criminals that violated federal election laws.

Anything less falls far short of who we are trying to be as a nation.