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7/25/2003

redirect yourself 
Sophoristically Speaking has moved to a new location: sophoristically speaking. It even received a much needed facelift!
sophoristically speaking is moving 
sophoristically speaking is moving to a new home and will be using new blogware. Right now, I haven't had any time to customize or get familiar with the new blogware, Movable Type, yet, but the site is up and should have the archives intact. If you have been kind enough to link to sophoristically speaking at this location, I will try to let you know about the new address, http://www.sophorist.com/ . Or click here.

7/23/2003

dnc not allowed to lie 
The Democratic National Committee is upset that a local television station in Wisconsin is refusing to run an ad accusing President Bush of lying in the State of the Union address.

WMSN, a Fox affiliate, issued a statement saying the ad was misleading because it omitted the phrase, "The British government has learned" about Iraq's efforts to buy uranium in Africa. "WMSN gave the DNC the opportunity to edit the ad and include the British government's involvement, but that request was denied," the statement said.

Question: Why is the DNC running ads attacking Bush right now?

The truth is out there, but don't look for Terry McAuliffe to show you where it is.

Kudos to WMSN in Madison, Wisconsin, for not selling out.
some details on the deaths of mini-husseins 
This article from the Palm Beach Post provides some interesting details on the deaths of Uday and Qusay. Apparently, three or four American servicemen were injured in the assault on the villa. An excerpt:

"I would never consider this a failure," [Lt. Gen. Ricardo] Sanchez said in response to a question about whether U.S. forces would have been better off capturing the men and interrogating them for valuable information.

"Our mission is to find, kill or capture. In this case, we had an enemy that was defending, it was barricaded, and we had to take the measures that were necessary in order to neutralize the target," he said.


No matter what rhetoric is spewed forth from a certain unnamed politician (whose name rhymes with "tangle") rooting against America, it would not have been worth the life of a single American soldier to capture the evil spawn of Saddam alive. Good job, 101st. Airborne!
missouri concealed carry - rep. vicky riback wilson 
A while back, I posted about a statement made by Representative Vicky Riback Wilson, D-Columbia, stating her reasons for opposing concealed carry in Missouri. I also posted an email I sent requesting what information she used to support her statement.

To my surprise I received a response from her office with some information. Unfortunately, the information she provided had little to deal with opposition to concealed carry laws. Her response demostrated her position is based on the fact that she is anti-gun, not merely anti-concealed carry.

One example she cited:

A study published by public health professionals have repeatedly found that having a gun around for any reason increases the likelihood that a family member -- as opposed to a criminal -- will be injured or killed with a gun.

I hope taxpayer money didn't pay for that survey.

A study published here first, just now, conducted by me, found that having a car around for any reason increases the likelihood that a family member -- as opposed to a criminal -- will be injured or killed with a car. Yes, I am anti-car-ry.

If you are interested in Missouri's concealed carry debate, email me and I will forward a copy of her response.
john kerry calls for strong military attack on iraq 
The SmarterCop links to an interesting story wherein it was reported that:

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts is calling for a 'strong' military attack in response to the Iraqi leader's 'horrific objective of amassing a stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.' "

That was reported in Inside the Beltway on November 17, 1997. Who is to blame for the faulty intelligence that mislead him into making those statements?
trials 
No updates lately as I am in the middle of a document-intensive trial and I've had no free time whatsoever. Emails, voicemails, snail mails, and everything else is bearing down on me. I hope to get uncovered by this weekend.

7/20/2003

davis loses stalling tactic 
In an effort to stall the ongoing recall effort in California, Governor Gray Davis' ally, Secretary of State Kevin Shelley, instructed county election officials that they could take an extra thirty days to verify signatures on recall petitions, rather than the proper procedure of verifying signatures as they are counted.

A California appellate court disagreed and ordered the Secretary of State to instruct counties to verify the signatures as they are counted.

"It's a complete and total victory," said James F. Sweeney, attorney for the Recall Gray Davis Committee. He added that it would be "highly probable" that a recall election will be certified next week.

Predictably, the media has not been savaging the California Secretary of State (Democrat) like they did the Florida Secretary of State (Republican) in the last presidential election.

Read the AP story here.
the truth laid bear 
The Truth Laid Bear is a nifty site showing traffic rankings on a whole bunch of blogs. Pretty cool tool. You can peruse the list to find out what popular blogs everyone but you is reading.

7/19/2003

i fart in your general direction! 
Merde in France is now openly violating French law. This post explains why.

Jason from The Radio Conspiracy wonders if this is the best the French can do to get back at the U.S.
a new david to microsoft's goliath 
From the pages of Popular Science, read about X-Plane, a home built flight simulator that many professionals say is more technically accurate than Microsoft's best-selling Flight Simulator. An excerpt:

But there are disadvantages to being a one-man show. It's hard to imagine Microsoft coming home drunk one night from a party and accidentally uploading its entire source code, as Meyer did a few years back. "I woke up the next morning and found an e-mail from a friend alerting me to what I'd done. My heart stopped. I had basically given away 12 years of work. I thought my life was over." He was able to remove the files before anyone could spread them around, but to this day he feels like he dodged a bullet. "I don't drink anymore," he says.

Popular Science also has this article testing both programs on a flight through the Rockies.

X-Plane's site is here.
we can't keep holden on 
Courtesy of bigredgiant, you can listen to an amusing song entitled We Can't Keep Holden On. Bob Holden is the wildly unpopular governor of Missouri. Check it out.

7/17/2003

advice to bush 
Buckley has some advice to Bush, here, regarding his move from compassionate conservatism to questionable conservatism. He also discusses the prescription drug bill.

We hear the grand figure that under the Senate bill, we would undertake a trillion-dollar entitlement over 10 years. That translates to: taking a trillion dollars from some people and giving it -- not exactly to a different set of people, but to people identified by different means.

The emphasis is of course on help to older people, the principal beneficiaries of whatever the reduced cost would be in buying drugs. Older people have more to worry about in looking after their health, but less in looking after school bills and mortgage payments. It would be very difficult to prove, over the long run, that older people will, as a class, benefit from the pending bills. There is no tax bill on the table that exempts older people from taxation, and it is probable that they will devote the same percentage of their income as before to medical expenses.


Who doesn't believe pharmaceutical companies will raise prices once legislation like this takes effect? I still have questions about that particular piece of legislation. We, the people, don't need that program and it is a blatant attempt to pander to the senior citizen vote.

Will a real conservative please stand up and put his or her finger in the deficit dyke? Quit mortgaging our financial futures for present political advantage.
boortz calls for levin to investigate himself 
Neal Boortz, host of America's Rude Awakening, and a generally pretty entertaining guy to listen to, has the following to say regarding Senator Carl Levin's call for an investigation into those famous 16 words:

Democratic Senator Carl Levin is having a grand old time slamming the Bush Administration over the magic 16 words in the State of the Union speech. Levin is calling for an investigation of Bush’s claim that “The British government has learned that Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

So, Levin wants an investigation, does he?

On October 9, 1998 (when there was a Democrat in office) Carl Levin made a speech on the floor of the Senate in which he stated that there are reports that “Iraq (has) attempted to acquire materials for a nuclear program contrary to its treaty obligations.”

We are now waiting for Carl Levin to call for an investigation into his own remarks.


Today only, the link to the story is here. Then it will move to here. Note to Neal, get some blogware so readers can link to individual items in your Nuze and can refer to a permalink.
blair 
Tony Blair gave Congress a lesson in the American way of life today--a lesson that sadly need to be taught given the political rancor in Washington and the media.

"There has never been a time when the power of America was so necessary, or so misunderstood," he said.

Like Winston Churchill, who came before Congress the month the United States was attacked at Pearl Harbor and plunged into world war, he quoted Abraham Lincoln, although for a different purpose. "Those that deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves," Blair quoted.

"Why America?" he asked rhetorically, meaning why must America lead. "And the only answer is: because destiny put you in this place in history, in this moment in time and the task is yours to do."

He went on: "You are not going to be alone. We will be with you in this fight for liberty."


Hopefully both Democrats and Republicans will heed his words, chill on the political infighting, and get to work to keep our nation great.

Read about it in the Kansas City Star.

7/16/2003

the passion 
Mel Gibson's new movie, The Passion, will be big, despite the fact that many are trying to malign and denounce the film before it is even released. For instance:

The director of interfaith affairs at the Anti-Defamation League in New York, Rabbi Eugene Korn, says: "Historically, 'passion' plays have been very dangerous productions in terms of Christian attitudes toward Jews. Many dramatic presentations of the passion contained anti-Semitic elements ... that led to the charge of deicide (killing of a god) and responsibility of Jews for the Crucifixion. Not only Jews who lived then, but Jews for all time."

***

Korn says he will wait "a suitable amount of time" for Gibson to respond to the request for a panel to read the script. "If he doesn't respond, the controversy will certainly heat up. We are all very vigilant about things like this."


The letter to Gibson from the ADL is here. The ADL informs Gibson that he has "a great responsibility in the message ultimately promoted by the film, one we hope that is positive."

The positive message part will be difficult, given the fact that the whole purpose of the film is to graphically show the suffering Jesus Christ endured in the last twelve hours of his life. It was brutal and bloody and, from viewing the trailer, it looks like the film will capture that fact.

Christians believe the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, more specifically his resurrection three days later, is the greatest positive event in human history. I don't think the ADL would agree, but this isn't a movie about what the Jews think about Jesus.

The Anti-Defamation League also issued this press release. Based upon their scholars' review of an early version of the screen play, the ADL stated:

The committee unanimously agreed that the screenplay reviewed was replete with objectionable elements that would promote anti-Semitism.

Based upon the scholars' analysis of the screenplay, ADL has serious concerns regarding the Mr. Gibson's "The Passion" and asks:

Will the final version of The Passion continue to portray Jews as blood-thirsty, sadistic and money-hungry enemies of Jesus?

Will it correct the unambiguous depiction of Jews as the ones responsible for the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus? Will it show the power of the rule of imperial Rome-including its frequent use of crucifixion-in first-century Palestine?

Will the film reject exploiting New Testament passages selectively to weave a narrative that does injustice to the gospels, that oversimplifies history, and that is hostile to Jews and Judaism?

Will it live up to its promise "to tell the truth?" To do so, the final product must rid itself of fictitious non-scriptural elements (e.g. the high priest's control of Pontius Pilate, the cross built in the Temple at the direction of Jewish religious officials, excessive violence, Jews physically abusing Jesus before the crucifixion, Jews paying "blood money" for the crucifixion), all of which form an inescapably negative picture of Jewish society and leadership.

Will it portray Jews and the Temple as the locus of evil?


Reading the press release makes me wonder whether these folks from the ADL have read the New Testament. The situation was certainly complex.

Some Jews loved and supported Jesus Christ. After all, Jesus Christ was a Jew. The disciples were Jews. Most of Jesus Christ' followers were Jews.

Many others hated Jesus Christ. The Pharisees and some other powerful religious and political Jews wanted Him dead, paid one of His disciples to betray Him, and delivered Him to the Romans. The Jews (not all Jews, of course) chose to have a criminal, Barabbas, go free instead of Jesus Christ, leaving Him to be crucified by the Romans.

Some Jews made Him their enemy, some did not.

I find it hard to believe the ADL is concerned about a narrative that "does injustice to the gospels." Does the ADL believe the gospels are true in the first place?

"Will it live up to its promise to tell the truth?" Well, that's a tough billing for any movie or any person for that matter. It certainly won't tell the truth as the ADL believes the truth to be. It may or may not resemble the "truth" as Christians believe. We'll have to see. Individuals are free to reject the movie as false, just as they are free to reject the gospels as false.

As far as the Temple being the locus of evil, did not Jesus Christ frequently teach in the Temple, was He not frequently challenged by Jewish leaders in the Temple, and did He not overturn the tables of the money-changers in the Temple? I don't know if those events are what the ADL is referring to in the movie as I haven't seen it. If those are the scenes the ADL doesn't like, those scenes are certainly in the gospels.

Another article states:

“Viewers without extensive knowledge of Catholic teaching about interpreting the New Testament will surely leave the theatre with the overriding impression that the bloodthirsty, vengeful and money-hungry Jews simply had an implacable hatred of Jesus,” said the confidential report, which has not been released publicly.

The bloodthirsty, vengeful, and hate-filled traits were certainly characteristic of those who wanted Jesus Christ dead. I'm not sure it had anything to do with money at root, but money changed hands. If these critics are saying all Jews weren't like those that wanted Christ dead, I whole-heartedly agree. If the critics are saying no Jews were like that, they are wrong.

This article also discusses the Roman Catholic church's repudiation of the doctrine that Jews are collectively to blame for the death of Jesus Christ. Rightly so. All people are collectively and individually to blame for the death of Jesus Christ. All Protestant Christians, to my knowledge (not sure about Roman Catholics), believe that Christ died for the sin of each and all.

In an article by David Limbaugh:

To further ensure the accuracy of the work, Gibson has enlisted the counsel of pastors and theologians, and has received rave reviews. Don Hodel, president of Focus on the Family, said, "I was very impressed. The movie is historically and theologically accurate." Ted Haggard, pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo., and president of the National Evangelical Association glowed, "It conveys, more accurately than any other film, who Jesus was."

From the same article:

Gibson is beginning to experience first hand just how controversial Christ is. Critics have not only speciously challenged the movie's authenticity, but have charged that it is disparaging to Jews, which Gibson vehemently denies. "This is not a Christian versus Jewish thing. '(Jesus) came into the world, and it knew him not.' Looking at Christ's crucifixion, I look first at my own culpability in that."

Jesuit Father William J. Fulco, who translated the script into Aramaic and Latin, said he saw no hint of anti-Semitism in the movie. Fulco added, "I would be aghast at any suggestion that Mel is anti-Semitic."


Also:

A group of Jewish and Christian academics has issued an 18-page report slamming all aspects of the film, including its undue emphasis on Christ’s passion rather than "a broader vision."

The movie is about Christ's passion. If they want a movie with "a broader vision," they are free to make one.

More here from Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Harold Brackman, a historian and consultant to the Wiesenthal Center:

It shouldn't need saying, but apparently it does. The Romans were in control of Jerusalem at the time of Christ's execution -- not the Jews. Crucifixion was the preferred Roman method of punishment, not one sanctioned by Jewish law. Jesus and his followers were Jews. Could Jewish authorities have played a role in turning Jesus over to the Romans? Possibly.

Hier and Brackman's first point is correct and everbody I know is aware of that fact. It's made abundantly clear in the gospels. But it is more than just possible that Jewish authorities played a role in turning Jesus Christ over to the Romans. Read Matthew 26:47-27:44, Mark 14:43-15:32, Luke 22:47-23:43, and John 18-19:22. The gospels say that (in rough terms) the Jewish authorities arrested Jesus Christ and turned Him over to the Romans to be crucified. It shouldn't need saying, but apparently it does. If you don't believe the gospels are true, you won't believe the portrayal of a portion of the gospels in this film is true. Why should a movie, made from a Christian viewpoint, about Jesus Christ be modified to please those who do not believe in Him?

Those trying to present a Christian viewpoint to today's world will always be challenged. I would prefer to see the movie uncensored by the ADL, other non-Christians and anti-Christians, and those who prefer "modern Christian biblical scholarship, which puts the four differing Gospel stories into historical context" (a fancy way of saying they have revised the gospels to suit their own beliefs, instead of vice versa). I can make up my own mind as to what it true and what is Hollywood.

Chuck Colson discusses the double standard applied to movies about Jesus Christ here.

View the trailer for The Passion here.
rhetoric channel / reality channel 
G. In Baghdad is also an Iraqi blogger. He hasn't updated lately, but one of his posts is quite insightful and should be required reading for all foreign journalists in Iraq. G. writes about how Iraqis have two channels or ways of perceiving the world, a rhetoric channel and a reality channel. Which one an observer gets out of the Iraqi depends on several factors. An excerpt:

Here in Iraq every citizen was provided -since the early days of the regime- with a whole set of lies that gradually became the foundation on which you would build your perceptions of the world outside. Consequently you end up with two channels, a “channel reality” that is off the air most of the times and “channel rhetoric” a mixture of self-denial, conspiracy theory [apologia] and propaganda. Of course we shouldn’t blame Saddam and his lies based tyrannical regime only, this phenomenon has its roots deep in our cultural/religious history.

G. also provides examples of what he means. For instance:

every one of us here in Iraq has this small plug in police officer back in his mined which will monitor all our movements and talking even now almost 3 month after the American tanks roared into Baghdad.

Asking a man standing under the sun in the middle of the street what do you think of the Americans? He will answer with a combination of the following:

“They are invaders, they have this big pipe pumping our oil directly to the white house, they haven’t fixed our electricity yet, they are not paying our salaries, they haven’t done anything for us apart from promises, where is the freedom they spoke about? We haven’t seen any yet” not mentioning the real conspiracy theory stuff, like the Americans are steeling money when they search cars at check points or they are using there apache gunships to watch our ladies when they sleep on the roof tops."

Lets cut these things and ask the guy, but they have toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein, you don’t have to be terrified of his security apparatus any more, your son wont spend all his days trying to avoid the party members or bribe the army officers to spare him the torture of conscript army service, Saddam and his grandchildren would have stayed here for ever if it wasn’t the Americans.

He will answer yes I now but u know…..

I think one of the main issues we have to face, is how to stop using the rhetoric channel, how could we stop this cog mire of stupid conspiracy theories going on and on and on how to liberate our selves from the secret police mechanisms nesting in our brains, this liberation will not be achieved by American tanks, nor by a self-denial flagellation process.


G.'s posts are insightful. Hopefully, he will continue to post.
iraqi blog 
From a blog written by an Iraqi,Where is Raed ?

The best job for anyone now is selling cold Pepsi on the road. The customers are often US soldiers trying to survive the heat. The amount of Pepsi trucks you see being unloaded everyday is incredible.

Note to Democrats: Time to begin calling for congressional hearings to determine whether Dick Cheney drinks Pepsi.

On a more serious note, check out the Salam Pax's blog.
blogs from iraq 
L.T. Smash has a list of blogs maintained by members of the U.S. Armed Forces in Iraq and by Iraqi citizens here.
regime change 
Raines is gone, but there has not been regime change at the New York Times, according to the Media Research Center. Read about it here. Samples of the past writings of new executive editor, Bill Keller, are collected in the MRC's story. An excerpt:

“We’ve got a [Bush] administration characterized by blind faith in crony capitalism, a drunken spendthrift’s version of supply-side economics, and a secretive, country-club executive style. The people-versus-the-powerful sloganeering was grating, but on the merits wasn’t Mr. Gore right?”

Raines, Keller, and then there's that little known third category...
memo to sharon davis 
Dear Mrs. Gray Davis:

This is a hostile takeover.

This is not a hostile takeover.

This is a hostile takeover.

This is still not a hostile takeover.

Any questions?

7/15/2003

bob graham's world 
I'm really not picking on Senator Bob Graham. I've just stumbled across some things he's said lately on the election trail. Read the part of this transcript in which he is being interviewed by CNN on July 10th. Excerpts:

CROWLEY: Did the president lie knowingly to the American people?

GRAHAM: There has been a pattern of deception throughout this administration, Candy. It's not just limited to Iraq or national security issue.


Ms. Crowley didn't reference the president by name when asking this question, nor did she provide any context as to which president she was referring. In fairness, I think Senator Graham thought the question referenced the Clinton administration, so we'll let that one pass.

CROWLEY: Well, Senator, as you know, the president scores fairly high among the public for being trustworthy and honest. This, obviously, is an attempt to say, Wait a second. But when you say misleading and his administration is misleading, aren't we talking about the president? And is this an actual accusation from Democrats, yourself included, that the president deliberately lied? I mean, isn't that what everybody is sort of dancing around?

GRAHAM: Well, I believe in the old admonition if you're the captain of the ship and the ship goes aground, you're responsible. The administration, President Bush appointed all of the key people who are running our intelligence agencies. He appointed the people in the Department of Defense and the Department of State which reviewed the information. And in spite of all that, in his State of the State Union -- message, he had a statement that was clearly untrue. And that is that Niger had supplied nuclear materials to Iraq.


What? President Bush said in the SOTU address that "Niger had supplied nuclear materials to Iraq?" Graham just made a statement that was "clearly untrue." Bush said: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." Not even close, Bob.

Also, President Clinton appointed George Tenet director of the CIA, the intelligence agency responsible for the statement being criticized by Senator Graham. The word Tenet does have five letters, though.

CROWLEY: Here's what you said in December. "We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons for mass destruction.

How does that square with saying, Look, you know, the president, you know, made this up?

GRAHAM: Well, that statement was based on the briefings that we had had just a few weeks earlier by the CIA and other intelligence agencies in which they made such a case.


Actually, Ms. Crowley, what Senator Graham is saying is that he did not lie when he relied on intelligence reports to make his statement, but President Bush did lie when he relied on intelligence reports in the SOTU address.

GRAHAM: Frankly, I hope, even at this late date, that we find those weapons because if we don't, the credibility of the United States around the world, the credibility of the United States government with the people of America, will be substantially eroded.

In my experience, the word frankly at the beginning of a sentence is an indication that what follows will usually be a lie. I think Rhett Butler really did care about Scarlett O'Hara (as proof, see the title to this article). Frankly, I'm not saying Senator Graham's statement that he hopes those weapons are found is a lie.

Frankly, I hope Senator Graham gets elected president.
deficits, debt ceilings, and GDP 
The federal budget deficit is growing again. With a war on and the new prescription drug welfare plan, there are no signs that this trend will be reversing soon. Check out this chart and analysis from The Digital Economist.

Not exactly what I expected from a Republican president and a Republican controlled Congress. While 9/11 and the War on Terror were, and are, expensive--and justifiable--we should pay for those things in a fiscally responsible manner by reallocating expenditures.

The Democrats have no room to point fingers. They support (or supported) the War on Terror and wanted an even larger prescription drug welfare plan. And don't believe the Democrats when they start talking about irresponsible spending and a "record" federal deficit. For one thing, the federal deficit as a percentage of our nation's Gross Domestic Product is still smaller than during the 1980's and early 1990's. For another, the only time Democrats criticize a spending program (unless it is for the military or intelligence programs, followed shortly thereafter by criticism about the work the military or intelligence agencies are doing) is when they believe we are not spending enough.

What we need is a shift in spending, rather than an increase in spending. As priorities change, spending should reflect those changes. A smaller federal government would help.

We should also take a look at the funds that go to the federal government, only to be given back to the states for state projects. Anytime we see a program like that, we should lower federal taxes, have a proportional increase in state taxes, and just give the money straight to the state. California shouldn't have a say as to how Missourians spend their tax money in Missouri.

Imagine all the money that would be freed up in the process by not having to be withheld, counted, processed, recounted, debated, allocated, squandered, recounted, channeled, overseen, distributed, and squandered.

7/14/2003

d-e-c-e-i-t 
Democratic candidate for president, Senator Bob Graham, ran out of fingers when trying to count the number of letters in the word deceit while addressing the NAACP. He was asked whether President Bush lied about you know what. His response:

"I would not use the three-letter word," the Florida senator told reporters. "I would use the five-letter word: deceit."

It didn't take very long for astute reporters to figure out the math on this one. What's the big deal? Anyone can make this kind of mistake. It doesn't mean you're stupid--unless, of course, you are a Republican.

Read about it here.
al qaeda and the plaintiffs' bar?!? 
Trial lawyers pose a threat to homeland security.

What?

Read the article by Melanie Kirkpatrick of the Wall Street Journal here. The theory being espoused in this article is that medical professionals won't volunteer in the event of a terrorist attack because they are afraid of being sued by those "evil" trial lawyers (evil, that is, until someone you love gets run over by a semi or has the wrong leg amputated). More:

The problem here is recruitment. Many medical professionals have bitter personal experience with the tort system and are unwilling to volunteer unless they're protected from lawsuits.

That's right--I forgot all about the hundreds of lawsuits filed against doctors treating victims of the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

Liability reform is an essential part of homeland security. Without it, more Americans are likely to die in a large-scale terrorist attack.

That statement is so ridiculous, I'm not sure what to say. Maybe I should ask the straw man what he thinks.
the ap playbook 
The Associated Press Stylebook dictates the following for writers discussing the topic of abortion:

Use anti-abortion instead of prolife, and abortion rights instead of pro-abortion or pro-choice.

Why not fetal rights or prolife v. abortion rights? That would be a bit more balanced. Why define people by what they are against, rather that what they are for? I suppose it makes sense if you are trying to radicalize their beliefs or paint them as reactionary.

From the C-LOG.
yahoo and the jihad 
Rita Katz & Josh Devon write about how terrorists are using Yahoo! to keep up with their mujahadeen buddies, organize, recruit, and publicize their sicko exploits. An excerpt:

With Yahoo! Groups called "Jehaaad" and "The Jihad Group," for example, al Qaeda supporters chronicle the terrorist group's victories, disseminate hatred of non-Muslims, and provide a multimedia jihad frenzy for sympathetic viewers and other al Qaeda members. Through these Yahoo! Groups, one can view sickening media presentations posted by al Qaeda zealots. Videos of Russian soldiers being tortured by Chechen mujahedeen, mujahedeen vehicle-bombing operations, sermons by jihadist sheikhs, homages to bin Laden, and glorified, mutilated bodies of mujahedeen fill these Yahoo! Groups. The groups are almost all exclusively in Arabic, making their discovery very difficult for most Americans.

Does this have anything to do with Yahoo!'s stock price climbing from 8.94 back in September to its current level of 32.20? Probably not, but it is possible--all the jihadi site traffic helps pump up the stats.

Read the entire NRO article.

7/13/2003

the new york times as trade journal 
Conservatives have long been refused the benefit of the doubt in the liberal media. The current day after day pounding on President Bush's State of the Union reference to British intelligence is only the latest instance. Misleading headlines, outright falsehoods, and editorials by biased partisans are becoming common. Clifford D. May has a good article here criticizing the media for its reporting on this issue.

The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, CBS, ABC, etc., are rapidly turning into expensive trade journals. The only people that believe what they write and say are themselves and their media peers.

For fun, check out the "Notable Quotable" archives on the Media Research Center's site. You can search the quotes by year back to 1988. Peruse the archives and find out what your favorite network talking head or journalist really thinks.

(Insider poke: This link is recommended reading for Marc.)
blogstoppers 
Denise Howell posts about two federal government attorneys who are shutting down their blogs:

1. Stephanie Tai -- on the instruction of her employer, the Department of Justice
2. Omnibus Bill -- because he is worried his employer, another federal agency, will follow the DOJ's lead

On the other end of the spectrum (at least for now) is Miscrosoft (read here, here, here, and here). Employee blogging policies are sure to follow from many major employers.

My boss knows about this site and has commented that he disagrees with some of my posts. On the plus side, it's fairly anonymous and makes no specific reference to my employer. We don't have a policy, do we boss?

Here's my disclaimer: this site has nothing to do with my employer, but may often times call into question my fitness to practice law.

7/12/2003

a bloggin' tip 
Like many bloggers, from time to time I check to see what sites are referring visitors to my blog. This is useful for a number of reasons, including the discovery of other blogs and sites that are linking to me. I always check out any sites that point visitors here out of sheer curiosity to see what they found interesting.

Seeing the sites that are driving traffic here can also be disturbing, however. For instance, according to my research, this is the single most viewed post on my blog.

That's right, in the midst of all these posts about law, liberty, and politics was a nugget on the former Bachelor, Aaron Buerge. I posted it because Buerge is a local guy and I thought this little event was humorous. Now, Google, Yahoo, and other search engines routinely point happy-go-lucky searchers, yearning to know more about America's Favorite Bachelor, to my site.

As a result, I think I'm learning something about "web marketing." My tip to all you blawgers out there looking to increase traffic: throw in some spicy morsel now and then that you know will draw in searchers looking for the latest dirt on some celebrity. Or mix in a post on some flash in the pan cultural irrelevance that is sure to be the talk of the water cooler.

I'm just having a hard time convincing myself to do it on purpose.

[Update] I just thought of something even more strange. It's been quite a while since Buerge was THE Bachelor. He may be fading from our cultural memory. What if all the traffic to my site looking at the Bachelor post is the result of Mr. Buerge himself combing the internet to see if people are still interested in him? If only it were true, but I know it's not.
big chief tablet and all 
Every attorney who has ever written a brief has to read this opinion. An excerpt:

Before proceeding further, the Court notes that this case involves two extremely likable lawyers, who have together delivered some of the most amateurish pleadings ever to cross the hallowed causeway into Galveston, an effort which leads the Court to surmise but one plausible explanation. Both attorneys have obviously entered into a secret pact — complete with hats, handshakes and cryptic words — to draft their pleadings entirely in crayon on the back sides of gravy-stained paper place mats, in the hope that the Court would be so charmed by their child-like efforts that their utter dearth of legal authorities in their briefing would go unnoticed. Whatever actually occurred, the Court is now faced with the daunting task of deciphering their submissions.

With Big Chief tablet readied, thick black pencil in hand, and a devil-may-care laugh in the face of death, life on the razor's edge sense of exhilaration, the Court begins.


Thanks to memeufacture for the pointer.
missouri spam law, part 2 
Missouri's new anti-spam law contains the following language:

407.1144. 1. It shall be a violation of this section for any person or entity who initiates the transmission of any commercial electronic mail message to any subscriber in this state to provide a false identity or false or misleading information in the subject line.

2. It shall be a violation of this section for any person that sends an unsolicited commercial electronic mail message to fail to use the exact characters "ADV:" as the first four characters in the subject line of the unsolicited commercial electronic mail message.

3. It shall be a violation of this section for any person that sends an unsolicited commercial electronic mail message that contains obscene material as defined in section 573.010, RSMo, or references a web site that contains obscene material to fail to use the exact characters "ADV:ADLT" as the first eight characters in the subject line of the unsolicited commercial electronic mail message that contains obscene material.

4. It shall be a violation of this section to initiate the transmission of any unsolicited commercial electronic mail to a subscriber in this state who has notified a sender not to initiate the transmission of any further unsolicited commercial electronic mail. For purposes of this subsection, a subscriber is deemed to have notified a sender not to initiate the transmission of any further unsolicited commercial electronic mail if the subscriber:

(1) Replies to a sender at the valid sender-operated return electronic mail address or the sender’s toll-free telephone number with directions not to initiate the transmission of any further unsolicited commercial electronic mail as provided in section 407.1123; or

(2) Otherwise gives actual notice to a sender not to initiate the transmission of further unsolicited commercial electronic mail; or

(3) Notifies the attorney general if a sender fails to provide a toll-free telephone number or valid sender-operated return electronic mail address as required by section 407.1123.

5. The attorney general shall promulgate rules and regulations as he or she deems necessary and appropriate to fully implement the provisions of sections 407.1135 to 407.1147.


Notice subsection 4(3) regarding notifying the attorney general if the spammer does not include a number or valid return email address. The attorney general is going to have to come up with some rules and regulations to explain how this law will work exactly.

Another interesting provision is found in the new 407.1147:

5. A court of this state may exercise personal jurisdiction over any nonresident or his or her executor or administrator as to an action or proceeding authorized by this section in the manner otherwise provided by law.

I'm no expert on personal jurisdiction and the internet, does anyone know whether sending spam to a Missouri resident in violation of this law is sufficient to obtain personal jurisdiction on a non-resident spammer?

Also, a point that is possibly only of interest to practicing attorneys such as myself: There is no private right of enforcement to this statute, unlike some of the other statutes found under Missouri's merchandising practices laws. Only the attorney general may initiate an enforcement action. This will limit the number of spammers that can actually be taken to task under the new law. The attorney general's office has limited resources. Allowing a spamee to hire his or her own attorney to enforce the statute would have allowed for better enforcement. On the flipside, you know how creative attorneys can be with litigation. The legislature may have been worried about class action lawsuits against legitimate businesses that unintentionally run afoul of the law.

Good luck to the AG's office in trying to enforce this new law. I am hopeful they can. If nothing else, this law shows the momentum is growing in the fight against spam.
new missouri law regulating unsolicitated commercial e-mail 
Missouri passed an anti-spam law. Actually, the law calls spam "unsolicited commercial e-mail." It will go into effect August 28, 2003. Here is a link to the text of the law, House Bill 228. From the bill summary:

This bill makes it illegal to:

(1) Send unsolicited commercial electronic mail (e-mail) to any
subscriber who has asked the sender not to send any additional
unsolicited e-mail;

(2) Send unsolicited commercial e-mail without using "ADV:" as
the first four characters in the subject line or "ADV:ADLT" if
the message contains adult material; or

(3) Use a false identity or false or misleading information in
the subject line of any commercial e-mail message.

The Attorney General may initiate proceedings against violators,
impose injunctions and civil penalties of up to $5,000 for each
violation up to a maximum of $25,000 per day, and seek additional
relief. Violators are also subject to penalties provided in
merchandising practices law. Civil penalties recovered will be
credited to the Merchandising Practices Revolving Fund. There is
a two-year statute of limitations, and state courts can exercise
personal jurisdiction over nonresidents.

Telecommunications utilities, e-mail service providers, and
Internet service providers that carry unsolicited e-mail
initiated by others are not liable for violations.

The bill defines "unsolicited commercial electronic mail" as a
commercial e-mail message sent without the consent of the
recipient. E-mails sent from a parent company or subsidiary of
the primary business are not considered unsolicited as long as
the secondary business shares the same brand name as the primary
business. The definition excludes the following kinds of e-mail:

(1) E-mail sent in response to an inquiry from a subscriber who
has requested information and has provided an e-mail address;

(2) E-mail sent to a subscriber with whom the sender has had a
business relationship at some point during the last 24 months.
This includes a parent or subsidiary company of the primary
business if they share the same brand name;

(3) E-mail sent by licensed professionals or tradesmen
attempting to set an appointment for services related to their
trade or profession;

(4) E-mail sent by banks, farm credit services, or credit
unions;

(5) E-mail sent to a subscriber with whom the sender has a
personal relationship; and

(6) E-mail forwarded to a third party without the knowledge of
the original sender.


More to come.

7/11/2003

hussein and bin laden linked in newspaper published by hussein's son 
The Babylon Daily Public Newspaper published a "List of Honor" naming 600 of Saddam's closest supporters in November of 2002. The publisher of the paper was none other than Uday Hussein. All known copies of the newspaper were almost instantly confiscated once Saddam heard what was published. Fortunately, Judge Gilbert Merritt, who is working with Iraq's judicial system, was given a copy of the article by an Iraqi attorney who held on to his copy. (Incidentally, the Judge is a Democrat). Most interesting is the following entry on the list:

''Abid Al-Karim Muhamed Aswod, intelligence officer responsible for the coordination of activities with the Osama bin Laden group at the Iraqi embassy in Pakistan.''

This story is amazing! What is even more amazing is that it has received little attention in the media. I had not heard of it until I read the InstaPundit's post. Why hasn't the national media picked up on this story? It may contain the best evidence to date that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were in business together.

Actually, I know why the story died on the vine, and so do you, even if you don't want to admit it. Thankfully, in the age of the blogsphere, we are not left to solely derive our news from the major networks and publishers, all of whom are more interested in politics and affecting government policy according to their own agendas than reporting the news. Read more here and here.
small businesses aren't necessarily small 
According to this article in The Kansas City Star, the federal government has classified Verizon Communications, AT&T Wireless, Barnes & Noble and Dole Food Co., among others, as small businesses.

The mistaken designations mean the government has overstated the contract dollars that are going to small businesses at a time when the Bush administration has been pressing to give smaller firms as much federal work as possible.

I suppose that makes me a huge multinational corporation.

7/10/2003

will the french government plead guilty? 
U.S. prosecutors are reportedly offering a settlement to Credit Lyonnias and the French government, arising out of a fraud investigation against the two. Not only would the French bank and the French government have to pay a $600 million fine, they would both have to plead guilty to at least one charge. It also appears the French government would be paying the lion's share of the fine.

Not surprisingly, the French government declined to comment on the settlement negotiations. Read about it here.
government sponsored munchies 
Canada will soon become the first nation to sell marijuana to its citizens and has a stockpile of 1,650 pouches of marijuana all packed and ready to sell.

"It's a splendid product, with a THC content of 10 per cent," Cindy Cripps-Prawak, director of the federal office of Cannabis Medical Access, said.

No word on whether the government will also provide relief for the munchies.

Read about it here.
it's not about the ratings 
New CNN chief Jim Walton effectively said, "It's not about the ratings," when discussing CNN's sliding popularity as compared to Fox News Channel, according to this article.

"We might have more tabloid, more sensation more opinion in what we do and our ratings might jump up, but that would hurt the value of what we do," he said.

Walton quickly added that he did not mean to suggest that Fox News was trading on sensationalism. But he seemed to be alluding to Fox in offering a wristwatch analogy to downplay the significance of CNN's No. 2 standing in U.S. cable news ratings. "I really don't think Rolex cares how many watches Timex sells," he said.


Either this guy is lying, or he shouldn't be president of CNN. You can be sure that Rolex cares how many watches Timex sells. Everybody successful in business cares about how their most significant competitor is performing.

"When someone says it's not about the money, it's about the money." H.L. Mencken

"When someone says it's not about the ratings, it's about the ratings." H.L. Sophorist

nevada supreme court suspends state constitutional requirement 
A state supreme court's main function is to interpret the constitution and statutes of the state (along with reviewing judges' decisions for error). The Nevada Supreme Court, in what Eugene Volokh calls one of the "most appalling judicial decisions" he's ever seen, has just ordered the Nevada legislature to enact a budget and suspended the operation of a provision in the Nevada constitution requiring a two-thirds majority to raise taxes. Volokh suggests the Nevada legislature or the citizens of Nevada recall or remove the supreme court judges who rendered this abusive decision from office.

This really is an amazing decision. With this kind of activism, no right guaranteed by a constitution is safe. An excerpt:

Due to the impasse that has resulted from the procedural and general constitutional requirement of passing revenue measures by a two-thirds majority, we conclude that this procedural requirement must give way to the substantive and specific constitutional mandate to fund public education.

Read Eugene Volokh's thoughts on the decision here on the The Volokh Conspiracy. Here is a link to the decision.

7/09/2003

howell raines and the new york times 
Andrew Sullivan has a good post that shows why you cannot trust Howell Raines and the New York Times.

"Worse, Raines would not let facts get in the way of a story he had ordered up or a point he decided to make. 'Howell wanted a thought inserted high in one of my stories,' says a metro reporter. 'The only problem was, it wasn't true.'"

It's worth a read.
economic freedom, investment, and prosperity 
Economic Freedom, Investment, and Prosperity, a lengthy report that ranks national economies, was just released by the Cato Institute. An excerpt:

"The recently released 'Economic Freedom of the World' report presents an economic freedom index, which uses 38 different components to rate 123 countries on a zero-to-ten basis. Government expenditures as a share of the economy, marginal tax rates, independence of the judiciary, tariff rates, non-tariff trade restraints, and price stability are among the components integrated into the index.

To get a high economic freedom rating, a country must rely primarily on voluntary exchange and markets rather than taxes and government spending to allocate goods and resources. It must also follow stable monetary policies, avoid regulations that limit entry into markets, and establish a legal regime that provides for the evenhanded enforcement of contracts and protection of property rights.

Hong Kong continues to rate as the world's freest economy. But it is followed closely by Singapore, the United States, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Canada, Switzerland, Ireland, Australia, and the Netherlands round out the top 10. The rankings of other large economies include Germany, 20th; Japan, 26th ; Italy, 35th; France, 44th; Mexico, 69th; India, 73rd; Brazil, 81st; China, 100th and Russia, 112th. Myanmar, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zimbabwe are ranked the lowest among the 123 countries. However, a number of other nations for which data are not available, such as North Korea and Cuba, may have even less economic freedom."


Also interesting:

"The differences in terms of foreign direct investment are even more dramatic. For the top quintile, the annual foreign direct investment per worker averaged $2657 compared to $52 for the bottom quintile. Thus, the inflow of investment per worker into the freest quintile of economies was 50 times the figure for the least-free quintile.

Not only did the persistently free economies invest more, the productivity of their investment was higher. The productivity of investment in economies with an economic freedom rating of 7.0 or higher was 13.6 percent higher than for economies with economic freedom ratings of between 5.0 and 7.0, and 30 percent more than for those with mean economic freedom ratings of less than 5.0."


That explains a lot. I suppose it is depressing news for socialists. This article is a summary of the report. The report itself can be purchased from the Cato Institute.
larry burkett 
Larry Burkett died on July 4th. Christianity Today had this to say about the popular author and radio talent:

Larry Burkett, who died July 4 in Gainesville, Georgia, was a kind of financial guru for many evangelicals. His 70-plus books sold more than 12 million copies, and his four radio programs were broadcast on more than 2,000 stations worldwide. But in recent years, Burkett's writing turned from freeing Christians from debt to freeing them from fear of disease. Two of his most recent books told the story of his own battle with kidney cancer, and his seeking treatment through both traditional and alternative means on two continents.

Burkett did not die of cancer, but of heart trouble. In fact, he received a diagnosis that he was free of his kidney cancer a week before his death. In his final book, Nothing to Fear: The Key to Cancer Survival /(Moody, 2003), Burkett laid out the lessons he learned during his treatment—including coming to terms with his own mortality.


I enjoyed reading Larry's books and listening to his advice on the radio. Read the article, which includes an excerpt from his latest book, here.

7/08/2003

a representative california can be proud of 
Representative Maxine Waters, D-California, made her home state proud by standing up against the horrible censorship that would be imposed by a law blocking spam, whatever that is.

"I don't know what spam is," said Representative Maxine Waters (D-California) near the end of Tuesday's hearing by the House Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security Subcommittee. But Waters opposes limits on e-mail, fax, and telephone communications: "I'm just not in the business of that kind of censorship," she said.

Read the entire PC World article here.
it's all our fault 
The Sudanese government is blaming the United States for a terrible plane crash killed at least 115 people Tuesday, according to this article.

[Sudanese Foreign Minister] Mustafa Osman Ismail said the accident was caused by a lack of spare parts, which he said were unavailable because of U.S. sanctions. The United States imposed sanctions on Sudan in 1997. It also remains on the U.S. list of nations that sponsor terrorism.

After all, the logic is quite compelling: It's our fault that the terrorists exist - It's our fault that the Sudanese government sponsors terrorists - It's our fault for refusing to aid the Sudanese government just because they support people who want to kill every American on the planet - etc.

Are they sure a Zionist didn't sneak on the plane and crash it on purpose?

The article continues:

Here in Washington, State Department spokesman Philip Reeker rejected the Sudanese allegation - saying there is no ban on equipment needed for aviation safety.

But, the logic also continues: The United States won't give the Sudan any free aid money so they can't afford to buy equipment needed for aviation safety. After all, the upkeep on the Sudanese military is expensive, and the harem of Sudanese President (dictator for life) Omar Hassan al-Bashir also requires constant maintenance.

Yes, it is futile to ignore the logic. It is our fault.
michael savage - when anger goes too far 
Jason at The Radio Conspiracy wrote a good piece on the controversy surrounding MSNBC's decision to cancel Michael Savage's cable television show. I agree with most of Jason's commentary, but unlike Jason, I find it hard to listen to Savage for more than five minutes in a single session. He is sometimes entertaining and educational, and frequently has interesting guests, but I am often put off by his tone even when I agree with him.

7/07/2003

poverty of the soul 
The abortion of female babies continues in India. According to this article, over 4,500 female children have been killed by their own parents in one province alone over the last few years, by such methods as live burial, poison, asphyxiation, starvation, and just dumping the babies in sewers and garbage dumps.

A few years back, China was repeatedly in the spotlight for its state enforced program of abortions and infanticide. According to this case study, the World Health Organization estimated in 1997 that more than 50 million women were missing in China because of the state's one child policy.

Unfortunately, in the United States, since 1973, there have been over 40 million children aborted according to research published by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, special research affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (and including estimates provided by National Right to Life for the years 1997-2001 based on trends from previous years). The fraction of time it takes a baby to travel the birth canal is not a very convincing dividing line between abortion and infanticide.

As a result of our nation's own lack of respect for life, we are unable to effectively take the moral high ground on this issue without being hypocritical. Shame on us.
chief wiggles -- straight from iraq 
Chief Wiggle's blog is his journal from Iraq. The Chief is a CW4 in the United States Army and is involved in the interrogation of Iraqi army officers. His journal is a look into what is really going on in Iraq, untainted by the media lens. An excerpt from a recent post:

I have been a little perturbed lately by the negative sentiments I am hearing from many of our fellow Americans back home. There is even another blogger, who is actually over here in Iraq, you know who you are, putting out some really negative vibes. Please don't pay any attention to one small minded individual who chooses to spend his time complaining about how bad things are and how messed up the military is. We, in the military, probably have it better during this war than any other time in history. Our conditions, while quite hard at times, pale in comparison.

My father suffered through World War II in the Pacific Rim, with no shower trailers, no electricity, no port a-potties, no hot mess, no computers, no email, no phone calls home, no speedy mail delivery, and, and need I say more? They volunteered to go serve, to lay down their lives, many more not returning back to their loved ones. But they were proud to fight for the cause of freedom. To fight for the right that all human beings have of being free, free to make choices, free to live according to their desires and wishes.

I chose to view life here as being great, even with all the sand, the heat, the MRE's, the stench at the POW compound, the dirt, the stomach bugs we get, the lack of water, the lack of ice, the shower trailers, the tents and brick ovens we work in, being away from our loved ones and with everything else that is just the way the military is. I chose to look at the positive. I chose to feel that I am a servant in the Lord's hands, as a good Christian helping my fellow brothers and sisters of Iraq. I chose to feel that I have a mission to fulfill that is greater than my needs, greater than the needs of a few, greater than the needs of selfish homesick soldiers or any leftist liberal political advocate who disagrees with our presence here.


Thanks, Chief, for what you and your men are doing. America is grateful.

u.s. news & world distort (report) 
Mort Zuckerman, editor-in-chief of U.S. News & World Report (USNWR), recently wrote an editorial regarding his view that there are too many "frivolous" lawsuits. I understand some people feel that way. I think they have probably been reading some misinformation and need a little education about our justice system, but I understand.

What I do not understand is Zuckerman & USNWR's refusal to publish a correction or a retraction after it was discovered that the anecdotal evidence cited by Zuckerman in support of his editorial turned out to be false--the anecdotes were culled from a hoax email that has made the rounds for quite a while.

ATLA President Mary Alexander and Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), a media watchdog, have led the way in calling for a correction or retraction. The response from Zuckerman & USNWR:

A spokesperson for Zuckerman, Ken Frydman, gave the Washington Post two rationales for why the magazine would not run a retraction: First, "These cases were reported in a variety of other reputable publications, such as the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the London Telegraph." And: "Few Americans would disagree with the proposition that there are far too many frivolous lawsuits filed."

I wrote a letter to USNWR & Mort Zuckerman, excerpted below:

It is unfortunate that US News & World Report will not publish a correction or retraction regarding the false anecdotes offered up by Mort Zuckerman to support his editorial on so-called "frivolous" lawsuits. You wonder, then, why people distrust the media? The reason is writers like Zuckerman who will print anything in order to support his own political and social agendas.

If this is an accurate quote--[quote from Frydman shown above]--I would also retract it in order to retain some semblance of care for reporting the truth.

First, I have never seen a frivolous lawsuit get to trial. Truly frivolous lawsuits get dismissed or kicked out of court by a summary judgment motion. If you read somewhere about a plaintiff getting a large verdict in a "frivolous" lawsuit, you can be confident that you are not getting the whole story or that the story is false. Sometimes the amount of damages awarded by a jury can be excessive, but that is usually because the defendant's conduct is so reprehensible that the jury is disgusted and wants to send a message in addition to compensating the injured party.

Second, you can leave your moral relativism in the ivory tower on your way to work each morning. There are such things as truth and falsehood, right and wrong. The end does not justify the means. Fewer still Americans would disagree with that.

You have lost a reader.


I am willing to give them another chance. Let's hope Zuckerman and USNWR do the right thing--issue a correction and resolve to check their facts.
merde in france: more than 20 years behind enemy lines 
Merde in France is a bilingual blog that often has entertaining posts. That's where I saw a link to this story about the shortage of American families that are willing to host a French exchange student for the summer. Merde's title: "They're no problem really. Just put out a cat litter box for them." Bad kitty.

7/06/2003

missouri concealed carry, the sequel 
No, this is not a blog dedicated to the Second Amendment. This is a blog dedicated to the thoughts of someone who cares about life and liberty and that understands his liberty is a gift from our forefathers (and foremothers) who won that liberty not by words alone, but by words and deeds. In order to help us retain those liberties, they also gave us the Second Amendment. The right to keep and bear arms is the only right that allows the people to ensure that our government respects its citizens. They knew that words alone, while powerful indeed, would not restrain the monarch. A prohibition that keeps law abiding citizens from carrying firearms is an impermissible infringement on that right.

Missouri is one of only about fifteen states that makes it a crime to to carry a concealed firearm. Particularly interesting are the publicly stated reasons given by some Missouri politicians to justify their opposition to concealed carry laws. I wrote about Governor B.Holden's reasoning here. (Reasoning is perhaps an overly generous description of the process actually used.)

Today I read a quote from Representative Vicky Riback Wilson, D-Columbia, stating the reason she opposes concealed carry in Missouri.

"What we've seen from other places is that it is more likely that someone will be injured either in anger or by accidental discharge by having more small weapons available than the unlikely event that crime will be deterred," said Vicky Riback Wilson, D-Columbia.

I was intrigued by her statement for a couple of reasons. One, who is this we to whom she refer? Is she speaking on behalf of others or just minimizing her responsibility for the statement she is about to make? Two, I would like to see the source of her information as I am interested in this debate. So, I wrote sent her an email asking for this information. The email is excerpted below.

Dear Rep. Wilson:

I am a Missouri resident very much interested in the concealed carry issue. I read your recent comment regarding Governor Holden's veto of the concealed carry bill. A link to the article I read is here: (link).

Your comment: What we've seen from other places is that it is more likely that someone will be injured either in anger or by accidental discharge by having more small weapons available than the unlikely event that crime will be deterred," said Vicky Riback Wilson, D-Columbia

Please let me know the source of information and identify the "other places" to which you refer. In my studies on this issue, I've seen this argument many times, but have never seen any credible support for it. In fact, the studies I've read show exactly the opposite.

For instance, read this article on concealed carry issues from the Cato Institute: (link). A portion of the article is excerpted below:

From September 1987 to August 1992, the Dade County police kept records of all arrest and nonarrest incidents involving permit holders in Dade county. During that period, there were four cases involving criminal misuses of firearms by permit holders, including two cases of aggravated assault and one accidental and nonfatal shooting. In the same period, there were seven cases involving the defensive use of firearms, including two thwarted robberies, one thwarted rape, and one case in which a robber disarmed the permit holder. [67] Cramer and Kopel report that the tracking program "was abandoned in the Fall of 1992 because of the rarity of incidents involving carry permit holders." [68]

As of the end of 1996, there were approximately 111,400 Texans licensed to carry handguns concealed, or about 0.66 percent of the state's population of 16,986,500. Only 1,202 applicants had been denied permits, and there had been about 57 "incidents" involving licensees, mostly for possessing a gun while intoxicated or for failing to conceal the weapon. As reported in the Texas Lawyer, in the first year the law was effective (1996), no civil suits had been filed, whether wrongful death claims or claims against property owners, and no significant criminal charges had been pressed against licensees solely on the basis of a newly allowed concealed handgun. [69]

One death can be traced to the new law--it happened during the highly reported incident that occurred in Dallas in February 1996 involving an argument that ensued when a delivery van and a pickup truck scraped their sides, causing minor damage to the vehicles side-view mirrors. [70] The drivers stopped, an argument ensued, and one man began punching the driver of the other vehicle in the head through the open window. The seated driver, a licensed permit holder, drew his gun and shot his assailant, killing him. In March the grand jury refused to indict, evidently convinced that the shooter had acted in lawful self-defense. [71]

I look forward to your timely response.

Sincerely,


I will let you know if she responds. Feel free to contact her yourself--her email can be found through the link on her name above.

In the meantime, the article written by Jeffrey R. Snyder, a New York attorney, on behalf of the Cato Institute is definitely worth reading.

the daily whirl 
Check out The Daily Whirl. It's sort of a web based news aggregator for legal blogs and sites. You can set your preferences and it will pull the headlines off of the sites you select and lay them out neatly on the page when you visit. You might also find some new blogs to follow.

7/03/2003

the "new" american history courtesy of al jazeerah 
Courtesy of Al Jazeerah, we can finally learn the truth about the founding of the Republic. Be careful while reading this, you may be utterly convinced by the wisdom of his writing and decide to give up your citizenship. For instance, take this passage:

One narrowness that has not disappeared with time is found in the Declaration of Independence. Few Americans ever actually read it, but after a few stirring, handsome words, this document is a long, whining list of grievances, almost amusing to read now. Jefferson's first draft, which included even blaming the slave trade on Britain - Jefferson was very poor at economics, not recognizing the need for demand as well as supply in any market - was heavily excised by the Continental Congress, making the petulant Jefferson so irritated he disowned the document until in his later years it had become an American icon. Then he wanted credit for it engraved on his tombstone. Whining, unthinking demands and petulant attitudes remain readily-identified with America even as a world power.

This guy needs to loosen his turban. I think it's restricting the blood flow to his brain.

Thanks to Marc at The Radio Conspiracy for the tip on this one.

UPDATE: The Al Jazeerah article is no longer on their site. But you can still read it here.
why do leftists loathe the nra? 
A conversation with a colleague today got me thinking. We were discussing the Second Amendment and he brought up his dislike for the NRA and Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's Executive VP. This colleague is a Democrat, but is fairly conservative on a lot of issues. He's more a Democrat by tradition than because he supports the liberal agenda. But why does he hate the NRA? I'm not sure, but Allen Stover might know. He wrote this piece on why leftists loathe the NRA.

Here's a taste:

The NRA has successfully contested another of the gun controllers' main weapon against private gun ownership: a government registry of every gun in America, with a dossier of who owns it, where they live, and any other personal data the gun grabbers deem useful for their agendas. The purpose isn't to fight crime. (Do they really think the criminals will register their guns or the "hot" guns floating around our streets?) When the inevitable gun confiscation order goes out, they want a record so the authorities can efficiently round up the guns of law-abiding citizens.

It happened in Great Britain and Australia, where confiscation followed registration. The crime rate in both countries headed skyward and is far higher than that of the United States. According to the International Crime Victimization Survey, Australia, England, and Wales top the list with more than one in four citizens being a victim of crime. The U. S. isn't even in the top ten.

Canada banned many handguns years ago. The 1995 Canadian Firearms Act launched a registration of the guns of law-abiding citizens. (Who else would comply? Criminals aren't noted for their adherence to the law.) Canada's crime rate now ranks fifth in the ICVS.


It's worth reading, even if you do loathe the NRA.
some good news to ponder on the 4th 
Orin Kerr on The Volokh Conspiracy points out some good news to consider whilst shooting fireworks, eating barbecue, and telling your kids about the history of our independence.

A snippet:

"Given the predictions and fears that many of us have had about terrorist attacks and the losses of our civil liberties, I think that going into this July 4th weekend, we should have a cautious attitude of "overall, so far, so good." And I think that's something to celebrate. "
governor b.holden vetoes concealed carry bill, decides one term is enough 
Governor B.Holden vetoed the concealed carry bill passed overwhelmingly by the Missouri legislature in perfect timing to kick off the Independence Day weekend. His veto was a slap in the face to law abiding citizens in the state of Missouri. Included in his explanation letter for the veto, was this passage which illustrates how little B.Holden knows about concealed carry issues:

Pursuant to current law, several groups of people are allowed to carry concealed weapons. These groups are trained to use firearms in defense of the safety of others or are at a heightened risk of attack due to their employment. They include state, county, and municipal law enforcement officers; members of the armed forces or national guard performing official duties; state and federal judges; probation and parole officers; and wardens, superintendents, and keepers of prisons. Current law regarding concealed weapons, therefore, strikes an optimal balance between arming those who are in particular danger and who are charged with keeping the peace in Missouri and limiting the number of concealed weapons so that those who protect us are not in greater danger.

In his mind, only government agents have a right to personal defense. I suppose B.Holden's position works fine if you are protected everywhere you go by said armed government agents, like a state governor, and unlike the rest of us. How often does one of these government agents successfully defend a law abiding citizen? I'm not criticizing law enforcement officers--I think they do a great job under difficult circumstances--but they are usually only able to clean up after the damage has been done. By the way, does B.Holden really think law enforcement officers believe he is looking out for their interests?

"Limiting the number of concealed weapons so that those who protect us are not in greater danger?" Tell that to those employees gunned down at work in Jefferson City a couple of days ago. They might have liked to be able to defend themselves, or at least have someone around who could defend them. The lack of a concealed carry law sure put a stop to their killer. As I said before, concealed carry equals less crime.

At least B.Holden won't be governor for much longer.

Contact your senators and representatives and help get the veto overturned.

If you need some motivation, read the following quote from Dianne Feinstein relating to her support of gun control laws passed during the Clinton administration. It demonstrates the true objective of gun control advocates:

"If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them, Mr. and Mrs. America, turn them all in, I would have done it."

Contrast these:

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."--Thomas Jefferson

"The 2nd amendment was never intended to allow private citizens to 'keep and bear arms.' If it had, there would have been wording such as 'the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.'"--Ken Konecki
bush says bring it on 
President Bush spoke his mind again (not to mention the minds of 90% of Americans who are not journalists or presidential wannabes) and the frenzy is already beginning. Speaking regarding the continuing attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq, Bush said:

''There are some who feel like that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is bring them on,'' Bush said. ''We've got the force necessary to deal with the security situation.''

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Bush's combative tone was not meant to invite attacks on Americans. ''I think what the president was expressing there is his confidence in the men and women of the military to handle the military mission they still remain in the middle of,'' he said.


I'll bet the Bush bashers practically wet their pants with excitement when they heard the President's speech.

For instance, here are some comments:

But Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) called the president's language ''irresponsible and inciteful.''

''I am shaking my head in disbelief,'' Lautenberg said. ''When I served in the Army in Europe during World War II, I never heard any military commander--let alone the commander in chief--invite enemies to attack U.S. troops.''


Apparently Lautenberg, in all his years of service during World War II, never heard of General Patton.

CBS.com had this to say:

Britain's anti-war Guardian newspaper dubbed the statement a "gesture of presidential bravado." It did not help, in critics' eyes, that the president made the statement with a picture of Teddy Roosevelt on a rearing horse — a cowboy image some people overseas associate with the current president.

Since when is having a cowboy image a bad thing? I'd also bet George Bush is not the least bit upset about being compared by the British anti-war establishment to Teddy Roosevelt. I would take it as a compliment.


7/02/2003

how can i spend the money if it stays local, er, i mean bad idea GOP 
In Governor B.Holden's latest press release, he chides the leader of the Missouri Senate, Peter Kinder, regarding Kinder's idea of increased property taxes in those districts where schools need more money.

"These comments reveal a Missouri Republican plan that is very hostile to public education in Missouri," Holden said.

If you're thinking that statement makes absolutely no sense, you're right. But what else can he say?

Recall, the governor just suffered a huge political defeat when the Missouri legislature, in a special session, refused to bow to his desire for increased state income taxes. During his fight with the legislature, the governor continuously cited the devastation that would be wrought on Missouri schools if taxes were not raised.

Apparently Governor B.Holden only supports increased taxes when the money will go through the state coffers, where he has a chance to divert it before it gets to the schools.
and the europeans complain about bush? 
Check out these remarks by Silvio Berlusconi, President of the European Union, to Martin Schulz, a German member of the European Parliament:

Mr. Berlusconi, whose combative, bristling style and control of much of the Italian media have made him a controversial figure across the continent, was giving a routine inaugural policy speech today to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, when Mr. Schulz questioned his suitability for his new post.

The German legislator specifically raised Mr. Berlusconi's sponsorship of a new immunity law in Italy at a time when he is on trial in Milan on bribery charges.

"Mr. Schulz," Mr. Berlusconi said in reply, cocking his head to one side and smiling, "I know there is a man in Italy producing a film on the Nazi concentration camps. I would like to suggest you for the role of leader. You would be perfect."

In response, Mr. Schulz said: "Mr. Berlusconi, if I understood him correctly, invited me to appear as the commandant of a concentration camp." He went on to say it was very hard for him to accept that someone capable of such a remark should lead the European Union.


I think it's time to go to the mattresses.
no injunction without irreperable harm 
The Fort Wayne News-Sentinel reports that a federal judge has declined to enter an injunction prohibiting American Airlines from putting a new labor agreement, approved by workers, into effect. The court apparently found that the plaintiff, Local 562 of the Transport Workers Union, failed to demonstrate that it would suffer irreparable harm if the injunction was not entered. I agree, though I haven't read the decision, based upon the fact that irreparable harm is always an essential element when seeking injunctive relief.

If there is something wrong with the new agreement, and it is found to be invalid, the court can order American to pay the workers whatever amounts of money they would have received absent the new agreement or give any laid-off workers their jobs back. That is, the workers have a remedy other than injunctive relief that will make them whole--money damages. On the other hand, American Airlines is circling the drain and may be in bankruptcy soon if the corporation doesn't stop bleeding cash.
wonder where they got those? 
The FBI says Al Qaeda terrorists are using authentic, but blank, Saudi passports. This report characterizes the blank passports, which are of the newest and more difficult to forge variation, as "stolen." Right, they were stolen. I wonder if we came up with that conclusion on our own or at the request of the Saudi government.
google zeitgeist 
I've just noticed Google Zeitgeist, described as "search patterns, trends, and surprises according to Google." Basically, this feature summarizes and creates charts and lists showing trends in search queries and other "Google user search behavior." Zeitgeist also shows the browsers, operating systems, and languages of the people using Google. Really smart people will undoubtedly figure out how to use this information to their benefit. I just like the pretty colors.

7/01/2003

the united states is the original sovereign nation 
The United States has nothing to gain by submitting its citizens to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. In recognizing this, the Bush administration suspended military assistance to countries that join the court but refuse to grant immunity from prosecution to our citizens, much to the dismay of americidal folks like Richard Dicker of the Human Rights Group. One word is sufficient enough a reason not to support this court--fatwahs.

No matter how appealing the thought of seeing Kathy Lee Gifford prosecuted for human rights abuses abroad would be, joining this court would be an open invitation for mere political prosecutions that would erode our sovereignty.
declaration of independence is unconstitutional 
The Declaration of Independence is unconstitutional, breaking news reports.

Parts of the Declaration have the effect of establishing a religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, including the following portions:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them . . .

. . . We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness . . .

. . . And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The Declaration of Independence is stricken from the historical record. Henceforth, the United States is no longer a free nation, but shall revert to being colonies of Great Britain. Further, English is now the offical language of the colonies.
next stop the supremes? 
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court ruling ordering the removal of a monument of the Ten Commandments from the Alabama Supreme Court building. (Read the decision here in .pdf format).

The opinion is interesting and worth reading. The suit was filed by three attorneys who were offended and made to feel like outsiders because of the display. One of the attorneys supposedly went to the extent of subscribing to an online research service rather than visit the library in the Supreme Court building and hired a messenger to deliver documents to the building in order to avoid the offending article.

The Chief Judge of the Alabama Supreme Court put in the offending display, along with some other materials such as a copy of the bill of rights, a letter from Martin Luther King, Jr., and a quotation from Frederick Douglass, in order to illustrate the moral foundation and authority of the law.

Somehow, by setting up this display, the 11th Circuit determined that the Judge had either established a religion or prohibited the free exercise thereof in violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution.

In a footnote, the 11th Circuit observed:

Chief Justice Moore contends that under the district court's reasoning, the sculpture of "Themis," the Greek goddess of justice, which is part of the fountain in front of the courthouse where the trial in this case took place, would also be unconstitutional. His contention ignores the clear factual and contextual distinctions between that scuplture and the Ten Commandments monument. There is no evidence that the sculpture has had the effect of furthering religion, or that its purpose was to do so."

I don't find the distinction being made here very compelling.

The opinion also mentions in a footnote that the preamble to the Alabama Constitution states:

We, the people of the State of Alabama, in order to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution and form of government for the State of Alabama.

No word yet on whether the Alabama Constitution is unconstitutional.
stock option shelters fall under the tax axe 
The IRS is reportedly going after executives who attempt to defer taxes on the large gains they can reap when exercising stock options. In the tax shelter specifically cited in this Reuters article, executives would transfer the options to a family member or a family limited partnership in return for a long term unsecured loan. The transferee would exercise the options and the executive would only report income from the payments received. Apparently some corporate topdogs, Dennis Kozlowski (CEO of Tyco International Ltd.) and William Esrey (former Chairman of Sprint), were among those attempting to avoid tax through these shelters.

We all need a little shelter. --Cinderella, "Shelter Me"

supreme court voting statistics 
People who dislike Justice Thomas often point to the fact that he and Justice Scalia have nearly identical voting records and argue that proves Justice Thomas doesn't have a mind of his own. (I've never heard anyone argue that Justice Scalia follows Justice Thomas' votes--an equally "logical" conclusion). Inspired by an article in The New York Times by Linda Greenhouse, Sasha Volokh compiled the statistics showing that the Scalia-Thomas bloc votes together no more often than other Justices, and considerably less than the Brennan-Marshall bloc of yesteryear.

For instance, in 2000, Thomas and Scalia agreed 89.5% of the time, while Souter and Ginsburg voted together in 90.6% of cases. Compare that to this benchmark: in 1984, Justices Brennan and Marshall voted together an amazing 100% of the time.
target passes sears - wife celebrates 
This just in: Target passed Sears and has now become the No. 4 retailer in the United States. Sears has slipped to No. 5. I see now that all my wife's hard work is paying off. She may have single-handedly been behind this climb in the standings. Wal-Mart is still favored to win the Series, however, as their revenue is greater than their next five competitors combined.

6/30/2003

o canada day 
Since July 1st is Canada Day, in honor of our neighbors to the north, I thought I would try to find something written by a Canadian who isn't insanely jealous and spiteful toward the United States.

Dr. Dennis Morley Robbins won the contest with his editorial regarding Canada's opposition to U.S. actions in Iraq. A snippet:

You missed some detail in your article. You forgot to explain that Canadians like you who support Jean Chretien and his decision to join France, Germany and Russia in opposition to the United States are responsible for separating us from our traditional allies of Australia, Britain and United States. You also forgot to mention that Russia and France have violated UN sanctions and traded billions of dollars in goods with Saddam Hussein including a nuclear reactor and restricted items like night goggles that help kill American servicemen today.

Is that how we treat our neighbor? I could understand your position if you lived in La Belle Province and named your favorite daughter France as Jean Chretien did, but I'm confused that you side with the American-hating Liberals when you write for Albertans who feel affection for their neighbors and have deep Anglo-American traditions.


You go, Dr. Robbins.

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