26 September 2007

Dirty tricks?

I received this email from a lefty relative of mine:

Subject: They're already trying to steal the White House


Republican operatives -- including some of the 2004 Swift Boaters -- are working on a proposition for the June ballot that would essentially hand over 20 of the state's electoral votes before the elections even begin next November.

Reject the Republican power grab in California:



So I went to the site to see what was up with this. Here is what I found:

Reject the Republican power grab

Republican operatives -- including some of the 2004 Swift Boaters -- are working on a proposition for the June ballot that would essentially hand over 20 of the state's electoral votes before the elections even begin next November.

Reject the Republican power grab in California:

Well, that sure did not tell me much more.

Now normally when I get an email that makes a provocative claim and has a link. the link contains information ... or at least more links ... to substantiate the claims that are being made. That is how an American Family Association email usually works, for instance.

But apparently the Democratic party is made up of such sheep that they will sign a petition without even knowing what this thing is about.

So I went looking. Turns out that some people think it would be a good idea to distribute the electors in the electoral college proportionately to the percentage of votes each candidate gets. They want to put this proposition on the ballot next June.

This is not a "dirty trick", it is not an "abuse of power", and it is not "corruption". (That is the caption on the Democratic website linked above.)

It is an attempt to let the people decide in a fair and open election how their electoral college votes will be allocated. It is a bad idea, though.

Two thoughts:

1. I believe it is a bad idea for California now (which might benefit Republicans) just as I believed it was a bad idea for Colorado in 2004, when it was advocated by Democrats. But to not push against this idea now without acknowledging that the Dems would do it in every Red State if they could get away with it is cynical and hypocritical.

2. The proposal is to let the people vote. Why do the Dems suddenly think letting people vote (by secret ballot) is a bad idea?

17 September 2007

Freedom of Speech

One of President Bush's big blunders was his reaction to the Mohammed Cartoon Controversy of a couple of years back. (LGF reminds us that Clinton is no better and Michelle Malkin had more comments.)

Bush appeared with the King of Jordan and, as CBS reported it:
As leader of the most powerful democracy, he defended the rights of newspapers to print what they see fit. But he felt obliged to tell the news media they must be sensitive about their power to offend. ...

The president spoke out about the controversy for the first time, signaling deepening White House concern about violent protests stemming from the publication of caricatures in Denmark's Jyllands-Posten and reprinted in European media and elsewhere in the past week.

"We reject violence as a way to express discontent with what may be printed in a free press," the president said.

At the same time, Mr. Bush admonished the press that its freedom comes with "the responsibility to be thoughtful about others."

Mr. Bush commented alongside King Abdullah II of Jordan at the White House. Abdullah, too, called for protests to be peaceful, but he also spoke against ridicule of Islam's holiest figure.

"With all respect to press freedoms, obviously anything that vilifies the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, or attacks Muslim sensibilities, I believe, needs to be condemned," the king said.
Got that? You have freedom of the press, BUT ...

In spite of being one who has endured Piss Christ and and all sorts of public "artistic", money grubbing and attention-hungry attacks on Christianity, I am a big endorser of free press and freedom of political expression.

I think Bush, reversing the order to emphasize the freedom, should have said, "Sometimes people get offended, but in the West he have a tradition of freedom of religion and expression and the press which faith must accommodate."

Apparently Islam refuses to do so, and now a Swedish cartoonist has a $100 k bounty on his head. (Is Al Queda dissing the Euro?)

Striking a (pitifully small) blow for freedom of speech, I here reproduce Day by Day's response. I endorse Chris Muir's right to draw this and I claim a universal right to post it.

16 September 2007

Reverse Jury Nullification

I have always believed that the O J Simpson verdict in the murders of Goldman and Brown -Simpson was a case of jury nullification. By focusing on the language used by Detective Mark Fuhrman in an odd circumstance, O J's attorney's got the mostly black jury to focus on the potential racist attitude of the LA police department and therefore acquitted what was - to most of the rest of the country - a guilty man.

I do not know much about the demographics of Las Vegas, and I do not know how strong the evidence is in the current burglary case against him, but it would seem to me that it is possible that OJ might find himself serving time for the double murder over the theft of some sports memorabilia.

I wonder if that is really what he was after after all ...

The truth is not as much fun as a good urban legend

This story

Man Trying to Sneak Into Concert Venue Impaled on Fence

reminded me of one of the great Urban Legends of the early years of the Internet. (And having been to the Gorge Amphitheater at George, Wa several times, I can tell you that there is no place where this would have been possible, but it is a great piece of writing. I reproduce it in its entirety.

Misadventure at the Metallica Concert (1996)

Police in George, WA issued a report on the events leading up to the deaths of Robert Uhlenake, 24, and his friend, Ormond D. Young, 27, at a Friday night Metallica concert.

Uhlenake and Young were found dead at the Gorge Amphitheater after the show. Uhlenake was in pickup that was on top of Young at the bottom of a 20-ft drop. Young was found with severe lacerations, numerous fractures, contusions, and a branch in his anal cavity. He also had been stabbed and his pants were in a tree above him, some 15 ft off the ground, adding to the mystery of the heretofore unexplained scene.

According to Commissioner-In-Charge Inoye Appleton, Uhlenake and Young had tried to get tickets for the sold-out concert. When they were unable to get any tickets, the two decided to stay in the parking lot and drink. Once the show began, and after the two had consumed 18 beers between the them, they hit upon the idea of scaling the 7-foot wooden security fence around the perimeter of the site and sneak in.

They apparently moved the truck up to the edge of the fence and decided that Young would go over first and assist Uhlenake. They did not count on the fact that, while it was a 7-foot fence on the parking lot side, there was a 23-foot drop on the other side.

Young, who weighed 255 lbs. and was quite inebriated, jumped up and over the fence and promptly fell about half the distance before a large tree branch broke his fall and his left forearm. He also managed to get his shorts caught on the branch. Since he was now in great pain and had no way to extricate himself and his shorts from the tree, he decided to cut his shorts off and fall to the bushes below.

As soon as he cut the last bit of fabric holding him on the branch, he suddenly plummeted the rest of the way down, losing his grip on the knife. The bushes he had depended on to break his fall were actually holly bushes, and landing in them caused a massive number of cuts. He also had the misfortune of landing squarely on a holly bush branch, effectively impaling himself. The knife, which he had accidentally released 15 feet up, now landed and stabbed him in his left thigh. He was in tremendous pain.
Enter his friend Robert Uhlenake.

Uhlenake had observed the series of tumbles and realized that Young was in trouble. He hit upon the idea of lowering a rope to his friend and pulling him up and over the fence. This was complicated by the fact that Uhlenake was outweighed by his friend by a good 100 lbs. Happily, despite his drunken state, he realized he could use their truck to pull Young out. Unfortunately, because of his drunken state, Uhlenake put the truck in reverse rather than into drive. He broke through the fence and landed on Young, killing him. Uhlenake was thrown from the truck and subsequently died of internal injuries.

"So that's how a dead 255 lb. man with no pants on, with a truck on top of him and a stick up his ass, came to be" said Commissioner Appleton.

Urban Legend Status conferred 31 Dec 97: Declared an urban legend by on the following grounds: Intensive searching of online Washington State newspapers failed to produce validation. The statement attributed to the Commissioner is obviously bogus, as police do not make light of deadly shenanigans and never use the word ass to describe the rectum. And the editor of another Darwin Awards page, officialDarwinAwards.com, actually contacted the Washington State sheriff's office, which disclaimed knowledge of this story.

14 September 2007

This analogy made me smile

Although it will drive some of my family nuts.

It was attached to the end of a chain email I received.
"Calling an illegal alien an "undocumented immigrant" is like calling a drug dealer an "unlicensed pharmacist."
Kim Strassel over at WSJ has a commentary subtitled Look Who Won Petraeus Week. Though I think her tone is a little overconfident (or maybe that is all in my head) She puts very well the problem faced by the Donkeys.
Speaking of Democrats, they've conversely had a bitter taste of the perils of investing their political fortunes in military failure. Their decision to throw in with the antiwar left has left them with nowhere to go now that the better news is rolling in. That much has been obvious by the speed with which they've been blowing through new political strategies--each one less convincing than the one before.
When one includes MoveOn.org. and looks at the very apt comparisons being made between MoveOn's attacks and those of Sen McCarthy here, here and here, the left is starting to look desperate.

11 September 2007

It is indeed long overdue that we cut the cords of dependence

I thought we were going to get a serious welfare reform proposal out of the Democrats!

I thought WOW.

Then I saw the rest of the statement by Senator Carl Levin (D-Michigan).
It is indeed long overdue that we cut the cords of dependence and push the Iraqis to take more responsibility and ownership by giving them the lead in counterinsurgency operations.
Two comments:

1. Even if they aren't ready?

2. Want to try that same philosophy in Detroit, Senator?

10 September 2007

Appropriate and Dignified Commemorations

This is the sixth anniversary of thee 9/11 attacks. I have some questions about how long we will continue to agonize over this day, as Dan Henninger wrote in last week's WSJ. But we still are, so I would think that the morning news shows would focus on the commemoration.

After all, they were on live when the attack happened.

Katie, Matt, Ann and all are burned into my memory that morning, along with travel editor Peter Greenberg pointing out that the planes were all trans-continental flights so they were maxed out with fuel.

Of course I have moved on from NBC, as I detailed here.

But this morning, after an appropriate and respectful Fox & Friends, I went off the the gym to try and lose a little weight. I looked up and saw three women on the Today Show, and they were (according to the closed caption) saying things like "... on airplanes, in train stations, on buses, you have to be able to give a look ..." and I thought, wow a segment on how we have changed and the need to be on the alert in public places.


It was a segment called "Tips and secrets to dating men."

I guess the Today Show is completely over 9.11.

05 September 2007

Kudos to Mike Nifong

Mike Nifong has done the criminal defnse bar of the United States a huge service.

When I once considered becoming a lawyer, I always said that I would have difficulty defending the guilty (though I did toy with Constitutional Law, so I could defend principles). As such, I have always disliked the adversarial system where a defense attorney will do whatever it takes to defend a guilty man as well as he can.

But Mike Nifong has shown the necessity of a system in which the attorneys for defendants will do almost anything to get defendants acquitted, because sometimes, the intent of the state and its agents is evil.

03 September 2007

Another Victim of Political Correctness

One of these days I will post a longish piece on why I think that we have given certain words way too much power.

In particular, I think that using circumlocutions like "the N-word" as a substitute for a racial epithet is silly. Likewise, I think that any attempt to ban it (a la a New York City councilman's recent crusade) simply gives the word too much stature. This is arguable in terms of semantics and theology, but on an everyday sense, words have only as much power as the hearers invest them with. This pre-occupation with the N word - albeit a word with a sometimes painful and violent history - has made it one of the most powerful words in our culture.

There is another, more effective way to disarm a word: shamelessly mock its hateful uses. There was a classic movie that did that with the N-word. Unfortunately, political correctness has now ruined that movie, at least on basic cable.

On Saturday evening, the Country Music Television channel ran Mel Brook's brilliantly irreverent Blazing Saddles. But, in my opinion, when everybody, even Cleavon Little, has that pesky word deleted from the soundtrack, the movie loses much of its humor, and the racial tension the movie seeks to mock out of existence is strangely heightened.

01 September 2007

Sometimes people perpetuate the stereotypes about them ...

When I read this headline
Mathematicians Sum Up Jessica Alba's Sexiness: It's in Her Walk
I thought, all right, the geeks get one right.

Then I read the rest of the story:
A group of mathematicians at Cambridge calculated that actress Jessica Alba’s sexy sway can be attributed to her hip-to-waist ratio, the U.K.'s Telegraph reported.

The academics say this calculation causes the strut in a woman’s walk, with 0.7 being the ideal ratio, providing the correct torso strength to produce a more angular swing and bounce.

Therefore, a woman with a 25-inch waist and 36-inch hips would have the exact proportions to carry off a sexy sway.
So (assuming that mathematicians at Cambridge are geeks, which would fit the stereotype) once again, the problem with geeks is that instead of talking to a woman to take the measure of her personality, they look at her measurements to determine her sexiness. (Like looks are the only measurement of sexiness.)

But the funniest thing about this piece was from James Taranto at OpinionJournal.com, who included
a similar headline in his feature “Bottom Stories of the Day”.