Monday, July 25, 2005
Cause And Effect
Sunday, July 24, 2005
V for Vendetta
1) Natalie Portman, even if she does end up with a shaved head
2) Hugo Weaving
3) The Wachowski brothers
4) Well, um, I'll let the tagline speak for itself:
Any movie that openly advocates rebellion against one's government deserves my $7.50.
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Liberating The Iraqis?
If the US was formed under a similar Constitution, we'd be a far worse nation today.
Shoot First, Ask Questions Later
At least he was from "south Asia" and coulda been one of those Muslims, right? Um, no, he was from Brazil. I imagine Chief Wiggum saying, "That's a dang fine use of racial profiling, Lou." I have no idea what the temperature was like in London on Thursday or what constitutes a "bulky, padded jacket", but the typical summer temperatures in his hometown might explain why he was wearing atypical clothing.
Yea, I know there's all sorts of justification for what the cops did, and I know there's the standard "don't run from the police and you won't get shot" line. But, uh, that forms some nasty circular logic in the minds of many, since if contact with the police means five in the head, then certain people may wish to put a bit of distance between themselves and the the police.
I've still got a bit of bleeding-heart in me, and I hope that I don't ever lose it.
UPDATE: I just read that the cops were plain-clothes officiers. Gee, five guns in streetclothes draw guns and start chasing after me - what am I going to do? Probably not wait around and see what their intentions are.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Retraction Of The Retraction
The relevant law is 925(d)(3), which states "it shall be unlawful to import any frame, receiver, or barrel of such firearm which would be prohibited if assembled". It's those last few words that are interesting, as there's many firearms which can legally be assembled from imported parts as long as no more than 10 imported parts (from a list of 20 parts deemed to be "significant") are used.
Anyways, I believe we have Gonzales to thank for this one. I apparently didn't give Ashcroft's pro-2nd efforts enough credit.
This is why I enjoy casting third-party votes so much.
Sunday, July 10, 2005
BusinessWeek Thinks That China/Unocal Deal Is OK
You gotta giggle at some of the lip service they pay to the regulatory process. This passage really caught my eye:
First would be to make sure the Chinese government, which controls CNOOC parent China National Offshore Oil Corp. and the banks financing its Unocal bid, cannot unfairly subsidize CNOOC's future energy exploration or pricing efforts to the detriment of American competitors or provide it with below market-rate financing that is unavailable to U.S. companies.
OK, the Chinese government won't be able to subsidize exploration efforts? Sure, right. They're a Communist country! I'd like to see CFIUS do something about that.
Anyways, I do agree with BW that this won't be the last deal of this type, so set some rules now and live by them. Hopefully those rules manage to strike a balance between strategic security and short-term profit, instead of giving away our resources for the sake of a multi-billion-dollar hand-out to stockholders.
Lawn And Garden Tips...
- Experiment with different nitrogen-based fertilizers to find the one with the best greening power and highest blast radius.
- Gang members will often pour malt liquor onto the ground in memory of their dead homies, resulting in soil damage. Shoo gang members away from your front yard.
- Mowing a pentagram into your lawn not only looks cool; it will also increase your dark powers.
- Don't let "the fellas" see you growing a flower garden like a fairy sissy girl. Build an indoor greenhouse instead.
- Planting vegetables is a great money-saver. Over the course of a summer, you could shave $75 off your grocery bill with just a few hundred hours of work.
- If your family has been suffering a string of lawn-related injuries, consider installing natural grass.
My New Least-Favorite Website
Thursday, July 07, 2005
But now I'm faced with the prospect of finding a single titanium bladed spoke in an odd length. I might just end up replacing all of the spokes, since I'm not real confident in the rest of them (especially considering titanium's well-reknowned fatigue properties, which means a well-build part should last the lifetime of the wheel and then some). Wonderful.
Is A New Strategy Needed For The War On Terror?
Certainly, if we're dealing with splinter cells that are setting their own goals and planning attacks without outside support, then indeed this whole thing does start looking like a local law-enforcement problem and not a international military problem, which is a statement that would have seemed foolish after the Sept. 11th attacks (and even the 3/11 Madrid attacks were immediately attributed to international terrorism). Certainly it's a statement that someone like Bill Quick (who I respect) would disagree with.
But I have to ask - if this is a search-and-destroy military mission, where does one start? Flattening a terrorist-sponsoring country in the Middle East isn't going to help - North said there's little/no connection, remember? Leveling London or Seattle or Detroit probably isn't the solution that anyone's looking for. So where does that leave things? Send in SEAL and Delta Force teams into Muslim neighborhoods? JDAM attacks on suspected terrorist strongholds/suburbs?
I don't think that's going to work, nor do I think that traditional law enforcement activities hold the solution. Obviously, since they didn't do much good in London despite the fact it's one of the most-surveiled (1 camera for every 14 residents) and thoroughly-disarmed cities in the world. How about civilian defense squads? I'm all about that idea, but it's kinda hard to understand how a civvie armed with a concealed pistol will be of much use against someone wearing a suicide bomb belt. What about "tough new laws"? Well, England already has a law allowing the government to confine suspected terrorists for up to 12 months without pressing charges, if the Home Secretary feels that they are more likely than not to be involved with terrorist activities. That's a pretty low standard, and yet didn't do anything to stop today's tragedy.
Former Sec. of State Lawrence Eagleburger is on Fox News right now and seems to be suggesting attacks against Syria and Iran. Gibson jumped into to add Saudi Arabia to the list, and then asked "what if these bombers were home-grown?" Eagleburger simply didn't have any suggestions to deal with that scenario, and then jumped right back on the concept of sticking it to Syria. That type of thinking isn't likely to help in this case, given the (extremely sparse) facts so far.
Random Comments On This Morning's News
2) Seeing that double-decker bus ripped apart was heart-breaking. That's just one of those symbols that never should be anything but amusing and joyful.
3) Powerline carries a great Churchill quote. But then John makes this ridiculous comment: "I suspect that at the moment there is not much fear and terror." That's kinda stupid, coming from someone who's safely nestled in a Minneapolis law office. Not nearly as stupid as John "Big Story (And Even Bigger Hair)" Gibson's commentary from yesterday (betcha he wishes he could take that one back - or maybe it doesn't even register with him).
4) Tony Blair did a magnificent job giving his statement this morning (the solo one he did off-the-cuff - although he also gave a good prepared statement with the other G8 leaders in the background). London's mayor (don't know his name) also performed extremely well and spoke very powerfully - shades of Giuliani, perhaps?
5) It took about 6 comments on a dKos thread before someone asked about "how Bush will spin this". That's, um, not quite helpful. It took 9 comments on a LGF thread before someone stated "no Islam no Terror". (the poster prior to him attempted the same quote but incorrectly used "Arabs", and is therefore disqualified on technical grounds). That's also not so helpful. And then I saw the comment "$10 says it wasn't an Iraqi" on the CamaroZ28.com board, which isn't at all helpful but is at least funny (in a really dark way).
6) The Aruba missing-teen story still gets above-the-fold coverage at CNN.com (as of 11:51 EDT). Wankers.
7) The TV coverage on Fox News was quite good - probably the result of their connection to Fox News. And it took until nearly noon until they started talking about how this might affect European involvement in Iraq.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Snark, Part II
While I understand that the job description of an Attorney General is significantly different than that of a SC justice, this is just one more example of how no one's interested in selecting a person for a position based on their character and morals. The Republicans loved Gonzales because he was perceived to be tough on terror; Democrats are happy (OK, maybe that's too strong of a word) about him because he might lean pro-choice. This sort of single-dimensional thinking is terribly destructive to a republic.
UPDATE: Don't let it be said that Bill Quick isn't principled when it comes to Mr. Gonzales. Whew - nice to see some consistancy.
A Retraction Of Sorts
Missing teenagers and shark attacks dominate the news, gathering more attention than the situation in Afghanistan and the prospect of a new SC justice. Man, it's like the summer of '01 all over again.
Monday, July 04, 2005
Not What I Wanted To Read On The 4th
For those of us that are fans of military-style semi-automatic rifles, this means that the import of AK-47 and FAL-style parts kits (as well as whatever other obscure retired weapons still lurk out there) is pretty much stopped. Yes, domestically-sourced barrels are available, at least for FAL-style rifles. But that'll shoot the price of a build through the roof, as if it wasn't already bad enough to throw away a bunch of perfectly-good mil-spec parts to comply with the 1989 import ban (that particular piece of law places a limit on the number of imported parts in a weapon that does not meet the definition of "sporting purpose").
The problem with the "sporting purpose" provision of the 1968 Gun Control Act is that it's nearly impossible to determine what it means. In my mind, it should eliminated since it's so vague, and if not, then it needs to be defined in the broadest possible sense. Rep. Ron Paul feels the same way, too, and has introduced a bill into the House that would eliminate this provision of the GCA (I would not recommend holding one's breath while waiting for this to pass, especially since the NRA has gone limp-wristed on this one).
In the meantime, I call on President Bush to call off the minions in the ATF, and allow the import of parts that will almost certainly be used on legally-assembled firearms. That is, if he sincerely believes in the 2nd Amendment, which is something I still doubt (and I doubt even further that he thinks the true purpose of the 2nd is to protect the people from their government).
UPDATE: More on HR1703 here.
A Heck Of A Shot
Sunday, July 03, 2005
Some Real 4th of July Fireworks
NASA has fired a 400-kilogram probe at a comet in hopes of hitting the target, about 800,000 kilometres away.
The space agency hopes to smash a hole in the Tempel One comet, but hitting it isn't going to be easy.Once on auto-pilot, the probe has only three chances before the collision to fire its thrusters to adjust its flight path for a direct strike.
Impact is expected at 1:52 a.m. EDT on Monday. Those with the best chance of seeing the impact from the ground are people in the the southwestern part of the western hemisphere.
That kinda overshadows my idea of filling the discarded toilet from our recent bathroom renovation with gasoline, placing an ignition source nearby, and then shooting it with my FAL. I have no means of viewing the impact event, but I look forward to seeing pictures of it. If I'm doing the calculations right, I think the required accuracy for this shot is about 1/16 MOA. Pretty impressive, considering the fact it's a moving target.
Iranian President-Elect Continues To Get Creepier
Military Meets Recruiting Goals... Or Not
"With the deluge of negative news that we get daily, it's just amazing to me that anybody would want to sign up," said Sen. Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican.
Ah, yes. Attack the messenger, not the message. Now, I don't doubt that there's a lot of good news that's underreported, but I don't think that a lack of good news is a determent to recruiting so much as the abundant bad news (and even at that, the daily toll of homicide bombings and US military deaths is quickly becoming background noise in the media).
And frankly, I'm guessing that a lot of people are getting tired of hearing the administration talk about "turning the corner". Saddam's sons. Saddam himself. Drafting a constitution. A handover of power to the Iraq provisional government. Cleaning up Fallujah. Voting. All of those events were supposed to bring us around the corner, and so far, they've pretty much failed to alter the course. If I wanted to get that sort of BS, it can be found in any typical full-time job, and my bad days don't involve car bombs or gunfire.
Saturday, July 02, 2005
Plame Source Revealed?
Paul Harvey - Time To Consider Retirement?
Mandatory SCOTUS Post
Radley Balko (The Agitator) has a good column on recent SCOTUS rulings up on Fox's website. He concludes:
This means that America may have finally achieved Madison's dim vision: "An excess of power" now prevails, and we're now living under a government that neither respects our right to property, nor acknowledges the property we own in our rights.
Perhaps this isn't the cheeriest of columns to write over Independence Day. But it's certainly appropriate. Thomas Jefferson famously wrote that, "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." We obviously haven't been vigilant enough.
Coincidentally, July 4 marks not only the birth of America, but the death of two of its founders — Jefferson and John Adams both died on this day in 1826, the 50th anniversary of America's independence.
Perhaps we should mark the date not only by celebrating America's independence, but by working to insure that this July 4 doesn't also mark the death of the ideas that animated its founding.
I recently saw an interesting post on The High Road - what if the Kelo case means that eminent domain can be used against intellectual property? In this case, firearms patents were the IP of interest, but the same idea could be extended much, much further. That's a scary thought.