The Truth Is Out There, Part 2

Writing in the American Chronicle, Dr. Michael Salla tells the story of Clark McClelland, a retired Spacecraft Operator with NASA. McClelland, a 34-year NASA veteran, reveals that he “witnessed an eight to nine foot tall extraterrestrial in association with a Space Shuttle mission he was monitoring from the Kennedy Space Center.”

McClelland’s revelation is intended to support his friend Edgar Mitchell, whose interview on Kerrang Radio last week gave a vigorous stir to the UFO conspiracy pot.

Lest he be dismissed as a “disgruntled crack-pot ex-employee with an ax to grind”, McClelland’s website admits that he is indeed a disgruntled ex-employee with an ax to grind. Whether or not he is a crack-pot is for you to decide.

As they say, the truth is out there. [Cue spooky music].

Brothers in Arms

Two wars, one regiment…..nice piece in LAT.

The two most unpopular American wars of the last century have found an intersection of sorts here in Washington, where an unusual friendship has taken hold between veterans of a war that ended in Southeast Asia 33 years ago and newly battle-honed soldiers with the “4/9″ brigade, who shipped out for Iraq in March 2007.

Over the last 14 months, as the soldiers spread out through the date palm groves and dusty villages north of Baghdad, battling insurgents and building alliances with local leaders, they have been in constant communication with 4/9 veterans of the Vietnam era. They have exchanged photographs, e-mails and packages, and — unit commanders hope — established friendships that will help guide the returning servicemen through the newly difficult terrain called home.

“They always compare this war to their war,” said Cpl. John Joss, 25, who lost a leg to a roadside bomb near Tarmiya, Iraq. “The enemy’s the same, almost. It’s not fighting like it should be. They just blow our stuff up and run off. I always knew when we went over that the Vietnam guys would be behind us, because they know what it’s like to fight an enemy that doesn’t fight right.”

The Vietnam veterans say they feel a sense of kinship to their old fighting unit.

Read more:   Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times

Daily pill halts Alzheimer’s in its tracks

“This is an unprecedented result in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Prof Claude Wilschik, leader of a British research team. The results of the Phase 2 trials carried out by a team from the University of Aberdeen (UK) suggests that the new medication known as “rember” stops Alzheimer’s by as much as 81%. The findings are being hailed as the biggest breakthrough in the batle against Alzeimer’s in over a century.

Patients with the brain disorder had no significant decline in their mental function over a 19-month period.

‘We appear to be bringing the worst affected parts of the brain functionally back to life,’ said Dr Claude Wischik, who led the research.

It is the first time medication has been developed to target the ‘tangles’ in the brain that destroy nerve cells, leading to deteriorating memory.

The drug helps to disrupt this process, preventing the formation of new tangles and loosening those already created.

Last night the findings were hailed as the biggest breakthrough in the battle against Alzheimer’s since 1907.

Eventually the drug could be used to stop the disease in its early stages before symptoms have even appeared, it is hoped.

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Tuesday Open

The chin has it…..


link

Is water wet? Do fish swim? Does a bear **** in the woods?


h/t JD

I’m Gonna Build a Dinosaur!

“Jake, what are you doing?” I asked as the #1 grandson was running around the pasture with a pail this weekend, picking up things and putting them in his pail, and vigorously excavating in the compost pile.

“I’m gonna build a dinosaur! See my dinosaur bones?”

The pail was filled with various bones that the dogs and/or vultures had gnawed over the years….a few vertebra, a leg bone or two, and some ribs. All in all, a pretty motley collection of assorted pork, beef, sheep, and deer bones that I had flung into the compost pile after finding them in the dog bed on the back porch, that had been half buried in the pasture, as well as the assorted poultry skeletal remains of deceased chickens and ducks who had expired somewhere on the property and then been drug out and sneaky eaten by a dog after it had reached the correct stage of decomposition.

“Look! Here’s a dinosaur toof!” He proudly showed me his finest paleontological discovery, a broken off rib bone. “Dinosaur bite people with that!” Well, just so long as he doesn’t try to pass it off to the tooth fairy, or else me and Mommy will be havin’ a lil’ talk (again).

All righty, then. I suppose Meemaw is gonna need to cut armature pieces to support the assorted bones, Jake can put the bones on, and then either Meemaw or Papa can weld it together with the MIG welder. Then we’ll send it home with Mommy for her yard.

Maybe we better wait until Jacob’s Daddy is off at Fort Rucker for that.

No Media Bias?

Still think the media isn’t biased for Obama? Think again. A thrill running up his leg…. what a pud.

You can’t fix stupid, Itza Shokka, Bits and Pieces: WFFOT

A recurring theme for this soon-to-be triple-digit, steamy, southern Summer weekend ….

You Can’t Fix Stupid (Part 1)

“Despite the devastation hurricanes Katrina and Rita wrought on Louisiana in 2005, a large number of coastal residents still say they would refuse to evacuate if another hurricane zeroes in on the state, a Harvard University survey shows.”

You Can’t Fix Stupid (St. Pancake edition)

Moonbats attempt to break Gaza blockade … “Taking the protest against the Gaza blockade to a new level, two boats packed with foreign left-wing activists will attempt to sail from Cyprus to the sealed Gaza harbor in two weeks’ time.

The operation is being directed by members of the International Solidarity Movement and the Israeli Commission against House Demolitions.”

You Can’t Fix Stupid (Obamessiah edition) … Barry Soetoro’s global wealth redistribution plan, S.2433, has been placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar for pending debate.

“Cliff Kincaid at Accuracy in Media has published a critique asserting that while the Global Poverty Act sounds nice, the adoption could “result in the imposition of a global tax on the United States” and would make levels “of U.S. foreign aid spending subservient to the dictates of the UN.”

You Cant Fix Stupid (Paleo edition) … “

The Palestinian Authority has come up with yet another wild accusation about Israel. Two PA newspapers – one directly controlled by the office of PA President Mahmoud Abbas – are accusing Israel of releasing rats with supernatural qualities to chase away the Arab residents of Jerusalem.
According to the PA papers, the Israeli-Jerusalem rat is:
1. Immune to rat poison;
2. Aggressive and larger than usual;
3. Unafraid of cats and able to scare them away;
4. Highly fertile — female rat gives birth to 140 babies a year, four times the normal average;
5. Highly selective — Jewish residents of Jerusalem apparently are not affected by these rats.


You Can’t Fix Stupid (UN Edition)
… UN tells Brits, “you must be nicer to Muslims … “Britain was told yesterday by a United Nations committee to take firm action to combat ‘negative public attitudes’ towards Muslims.

The nine-member human rights committee also criticised some of the UK’s antiterror measures.

The body, which is composed of legal experts, said it was concerned ‘ negative public attitudes towards Muslim members of society’ continued to develop in Britain.”

It is a complete mystery to me why anyone might have a “negative attititude” towards Muslims. /s

You Can’t Fix Stupid (Moonbat edition) John Hawkins takes a quick trip in his time machine and brings us this memory jogger… “What Democrats Were Saying About The Surge” …

Wesley Clark, — Hillary Clinton, — Howard Dean, — Christopher Dodd,Dick Durbin,Ted Kennedy, — John Kerry, — John Murtha, — Barack Obama,– Nancy Pelosi

+++++

Itza Shokka! … Media Favors Dems 100-1

“The contributions of individuals who reported being employed by major media organizations are listed in the nearby table. (Click To Enlarge)

The contributions add up to $315,533 to Democrats and $22,656 to Republicans — most of that to Ron Paul, who was supported by many liberals as a stalking horse to John McCain, a la Rush Limbaugh’s Operation Chaos with Hillary and Obama.

What is truly remarkable about the list is that, discounting contributions to Paul and Rudy Giuliani, who was a favorite son for many folks in the media, the totals look like this: $315,533 to Democrats, $3,150 to Republicans (four individuals who donated to McCain).

Itza Shokka! (Part 2) Guess Who? Hint: They probably used their supernatural rats in this operation … Hizbullah convoy likely hit in Iran … “A mysterious explosion in a suburb of Teheran that killed 15 people last Saturday was likely an attack on a Iranian military convoy carrying arms to Hizbullah, the Telegraph reported Friday.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards imposed a news black-out immediately after the blast, but the UK newspaper reported that it looked like sabotage was responsible for destroying the convoy as it traveled through Khavarshahar.

Bits and Pieces… “just buying gas that others won’t buy” … Gas and diesel prices at less than $3/gal? Yup, and a lot of Texicans are taking advantage…

“The cross-border commerce is raising the ire of some Mexican fuel consumers in Juarez; they don’t like the idea of U.S. consumers taking advantage of fuel prices kept artificially low courtesy of their own tax dollars.”

Speaking of the Mexican border, I don’t know how I missed this … “Last week,columnist Paul Weyrich reported that there is credible evidence that Osama bin Laden has acquired twenty suitcase-sized nuclear bombs from Chechen rebels in the former Soviet Union and smuggled them into the United States by way of the Mexican border.”

+++++++

This is the World Famous Friday Open Thread. A Free Speech Zone. Comments, linkage, track-backs welcome.

WFFOT: “as Robert Pirsig puts it, “The world’s greatest fool may say the Sun is shining, but that doesn’t make it dark out.”

====

Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's OasisTrackposted to Rosemary’s Thoughts, 123beta, Maggie’s Notebook, Right Truth, Shadowscope, Cao’s Blog, Leaning Straight Up, , Democrat=Socialist, Conservative Cat, third world county, Allie is Wired, Woman Honor Thyself, McCain Blogs, DragonLady’s World, Walls of the City, The World According to Carl, , Pirate’s Cove, The Pink Flamingo, , Dumb Ox Daily News, and Right Voices, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Goin’ vertical

It’s “Vertical Day” at Mike Huckabee’s website. The former campaign website has been transformed to become the new home for Huck-PAC, and promises to endorse the candidates who will support the ideas and efforts the Huckabee campaign. And, it’s off to a great start.

“Vertical politics” relate to issues which are neither Left nor Right, but seek to lift everyone “Up”.

Here is what Governor Huckabee says about it:

If you followed my campaign for President than you may remember the first “Vertical Day” we held on September 24 of last year. On a day when many said we should have focused on our fundraising for that “all important” 3rd quarter financial report, we instead focused on the issues. I blogged about the issues, answered questions about specific issues and used video to speak to voters about issues important to our campaign. We also featured guest blog posts from key supporters of the campaign, supportive bloggers and a guest post from Newt Gingrich. We had a great time and received lots of positive feedback from supporters.

The campaign also featured a post from this blog. Cool, huh?

Today’s event also invites readers to submit there own ideas to some pretty serious challenges facing our nation:

-How would you control spending in Washington?

-How would you make America energy independent?

-What would you do to improve our education system?

-What would you do to improve our health care system?

-What sort of tax reform do you think America needs to boost our economy?

-What steps would you take to promote conservation and good stewardship of the environment?

Weighty issues, indeed. Here is where I would begin on the economy/tax reform/business ethics question…..

President Bush is catching some flak for saying that the core of our economic problem is that “Wall Street got drunk.” I think there is a lot of truth in that very blunt assessment. And, within that assessment lies the key to possibly fixing the problem.

Derivative investments, with their lack of transparency, and lack of a consistent method for fair valuation are a ticking bomb which threatens to wreck our economic system. Here is what I propose to begin getting back on the right track.

Tie executive compensation directly to the derivative investments held within that company’s asset portfolio. Compensation over and above $1,000,000 per year must be paid out in the form of these financial products, as valued on the company’s most recent 10-K. In addition, instead of granting incentive-based stock options in company stock, require that companies first use their existing portfolio of derivatives.

The way I see it is, if these “financial products” are good enough to invest the hard-earned stockholder’s equity in, then they’re good enough to pay the top execs with. Oh yeah, and those multi-million dollar severance packages? You guessed it. Forget paying those out in cash. Pay them out in “financial products” instead.

Obviously, the derivatives problem is not going to go away overnight. But, I’ll wager that if the top execs understand that the gravy train is over, and their own compensation will be directly affected by dabbling in these disasters, then they will begin to address the underlying challenges of transparency and valuation.

Sound too simplistic? Well, sometimes the simplest solutions are the best.

For more solutions, click on over to Huck-PAC

Later, y’all.
=====

Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's OasisTrackposted to Perri Nelson’s Website, Rosemary’s Thoughts, The Beauty Stop, Maggie’s Notebook, Right Truth, Shadowscope, DragonLady’s World, The Amboy Times, Leaning Straight Up, Cao’s Blog, , Democrat=Socialist, Conservative Cat, Faultline USA, Allie is Wired, third world county, McCain Blogs, Woman Honor Thyself, DragonLady’s World, Walls of the City, The World According to Carl, Pirate’s Cove, , The Pink Flamingo, Gulf Coast Hurricane Tracker, CORSARI D’ITALIA, Dumb Ox Daily News, , and Right Voices, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Yet Another Rant

More things that puzzle, perplex, and just plain piss me off.

In yet another sad and infuriating case of political correctness trumping over literacy, Dallas County Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield was ordered by a judge to apologize for calling the central collections office that is used to process traffic ticket payments a “black hole”. It seems the judge doesn’t realize “black hole” is a scientific term for a well documented natural phenomenon. My question is: how did this moron ever get to be a judge?

As if I needed another reason not to vote for Barrack Obama, there’s this little beauty: “I don’t understand when people say ‘We want English only’. Instead of worrying about whether immigrants can learn English–they’ll learn English–you need to make sure your child can speak Spanish!” I have some news for the good Senator. First of all, most public school curricula require taking at least a few years of a foreign language. If you go to any government buildings, and most shopping malls, all the signs are printed in English and Spanish anyway. But more importantly, last time I checked, this is an English speaking nation. English is our lingua franca. Anyone who doesn’t understand that a language is an important part of a country’s national identity simply isn’t qualified to be the leader of that country.

On a similar note, here in loony Massachusetts, the MIRA (Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy) recently was on Beacon Hill, advocating full “civil and human rights of all illegal immigrants”, according to a column Michael Graham wrote in the Jewish World Review. Evidently these people either have poor grasp of the English language, or the law, or both. Let me help by giving the definition of illegal: “forbidden by law or statute.” Hard to understand? Too ambiguous? I don’t think so. Furthermore, here in Massachusetts, illegal immigrants can recieve free medical care, access to our public schools, subsidized housing, and, by the way, jobs that pay a lot more than they’d earn back home. More than one Massachusetts town, Cambridge to name just one, has declared itself a “safe haven” for illegal immigrants, vowing to not cooperate with federal authorities. Do you know what this is called in most countries? Treason. And what’s truly bizarre about this is that if I light up my cigar in a Cambridge restaurant, I become a criminal, and rest assured, that law is vigorously enforced. I guess some criminals are better than others.

In two separate article today, I read how the Catholic church is threatening to excommunicate a splinter group that has ordained three women priests. Also, the Anglican church has forbidden an openly gay bishop from attending the Lambert conference. Now, certainly people can disagree as to the various merits of each position, but it seems to me that, in an age when these churches are losing members in droves (at least in this country) things like this demonstrate that organized religion seems more committed to its own destruction than all the Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers in the world combined.

Speaking of religious lunacy, in another dismaying example of Europe allowing itself to be bullied by religious fanatics, Great Britain’s Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips, said he was willing to see Sharia law operate in the country, so long as it did not conflict with the laws of England and Wales, or lead to the imposition of severe physical punishments. My question is: how are they going to do this? Sharia law is particularly harsh, including such punishments as flogging, stoning, the cutting off of hands or death. This is a steep, slippery slope that the UK finds itself on. If Muslims are allowed to be a law unto themselves, why not Jews, Christians, and Buddhists? All these groups have their own religious laws. But I have this quaint belief that those laws should be subordinate to the laws of the nation. To have it any other way is to invite sure and certain chaos. Now I realize that Great Britain has never codified separation of church and state in the way the United States has, but isn’t this going a little too far?

Proving yet again that brainpower is not exactly a hallmark of the dysfunctional Spears family, 17 year old Jamie Lynn Spears tells “OK!” magazine that being an unwed teenage mother is “the best feeling in the world”. Nice going, Jamie. That’s JUST the message teenage girls need to hear. I’m sure those girls in Gloucester who all got pregnant, allegedly as the result of a pact, will be thrilled to hear you’re having “so much fun.” Naturally, feminists and leftists breathlessly huff about the need for more sex education and teen accessible birth control, and perhaps they have a point (teenagers are having sex, whether we like it or not) but in addition to those things, how about instilling in teenagers more discipline, and a stronger sense of (gasp!) responsibility?

Sure, she may have the money to live in a fantasy world, but most teenage girls don’t, and their lives are irretrievably ruined when they get pregnant. They don’t realize the high cost of getting themselves out of the trouble that emulating your–and your sister’s–behavior will land them in. Babies cost money. So does detox. So does a divorce. If Jamie Lynn Spears wants to throw away her teenage years and have a baby, that’s her business. I just wish she’d keep her big mouth shut about it.

Speaking of which, you all have no doubt heard about Alex Rodriguez’s dalliance with Massachusetts hair dresser and former stripper Candice Houlihan. Now I’m not a prude. I realize people cheat on their spouses all the time. But what I find disturbing is Houlihan’s callous way of completely disassociating herself from any responsibility for her actions. “I know how it feels to be cheated on, it sucks,” she grouses. “But a couple of drinks later, I didn’t notice all that much.” Of course, it was the bartender’s fault! Now she’s all bent out of shape at the negative publicity she’s getting. “He’s the one who had the pregnant wife at home”, she huffed to the Boston Herald. You’re right, honey, A-Rod is an asshole, too. But you’re just as guilty here. You’re the one who screwed a married guy, remember? And you’re the one who went public about it. So shut your mouth and enjoy your fifteen minutes of fame. It’s sure to be the last you’ll ever have.

And so the insanity just keeps piling higher and higher. Until next time….

–Smith

“taking up a glowing cinder with the tongs and lighting with it the long cherry-wood pipe which was wont to replace his clay when he was in a disputatious rather than a meditative mood”–Dr. John H. Watson

Please visit my blog at murderofravens.org

How to talk to an Obama cultist

h/t Former Obama Supporters

Primo…Secundo…Tertio! Lord Monckton Exposes Advocates of Global Warming Dishonesty!

Most readers here are familiar with Lord Monckton’s stance on the matter of global warming, or anthropogenic climate change. His chastisement of those who are promoting the many myths and deceits of earth’s cyclical patterns is approaching legendary status, especially in the gathering of climate change opportunists in Bali, and his exposure of the faulty methods of the UN’s IPCC reports in 2001 and 2007.
Lord Monckton recently issued a report to the American Physical Society, Climate Sensitivity Reconsidered, and if you will notice, at the top of the report, is a red lettered disclaimer from the APS about Lord Monckton’s report, with no attribution as to whom authorized the disclaimer.
Not one to permit an arrogant statement to go unanswered, after complying with all procedures and protocols for publication, the Viscount Monckton of Brenchley responded with an email to the President of the APS. I can only hope to provide a future update to this post, with the reply from the APS leadership.

19 July 2008

The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley
Carie, Rannoch, PH17 2QJ, UK
monckton@mail.com

Arthur Bienenstock, Esq., Ph.D.,
President, American Physical Society,
Wallenberg Hall, 450 Serra Mall, Bldg 160,
Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA 94305.

By email to artieb@slac.stanford.edu

Dear Dr. Bienenstock,

Physics and Society

The editors of Physics and Society, a newsletter of the American
Physical Society, invited me to submit a paper for their July 2008
edition explaining why I considered that the warming that might be
expected from anthropogenic enrichment of the atmosphere with carbon
dioxide might be significantly less than the IPCC imagines.

I very much appreciated this courteous offer, and submitted a paper. The
commissioning editor referred it to his colleague, who subjected it to a
thorough and competent scientific review. I was delighted to accede to
all of the reviewer’s requests for revision (see the attached
reconciliation sheet). Most revisions were intended to clarify for
physicists who were not climatologists the method by which the IPCC
evaluates climate sensitivity – a method which the IPCC does not itself
clearly or fully explain. The paper was duly published, immediately
after a paper by other authors setting out the IPCC’s viewpoint. Some
days later, however, without my knowledge or consent, the following
appeared, in red, above the text of my paper as published on the website
of Physics and Society:

“The following article has not undergone any scientific peer review. Its
conclusions are in disagreement with the overwhelming opinion of the
world scientific community. The Council of the American Physical Society
disagrees with this article’s conclusions.”

This seems discourteous. I had been invited to submit the paper; I had
submitted it; an eminent Professor of Physics had then scientifically
reviewed it in meticulous detail; I had revised it at all points
requested, and in the manner requested; the editors had accepted and
published the reviewed and revised draft (some 3000 words longer than
the original) and I had expended considerable labor, without having been
offered or having requested any honorarium.

Please either remove the offending red-flag text at once or let me have
the name and qualifications of the member of the Council or advisor to
it who considered my paper before the Council ordered the offending text
to be posted above my paper; a copy of this rapporteur’s findings and
ratio decidendi; the date of the Council meeting at which the findings
were presented; a copy of the minutes of the discussion; and a copy of
the text of the Council’s decision, together with the names of those
present at the meeting. If the Council has not scientifically evaluated
or formally considered my paper, may I ask with what credible scientific
justification, and on whose authority, the offending text asserts primo,
that the paper had not been scientifically reviewed when it had;
secundo, that its conclusions disagree with what is said (on no
evidence) to be the “overwhelming opinion of the world scientific
community”; and, tertio, that “The Council of the American Physical
Society disagrees with this article’s conclusions”? Which of my
conclusions does the Council disagree with, and on what scientific
grounds (if any)?

Having regard to the circumstances, surely the Council owes me an
apology?

Yours truly,
THE VISCOUNT MONCKTON OF BRENCHLEY

Source.
Why would the APS add such a disclaimer, knowing the nature of the Viscount, as one who will not back down? Are they perhaps attempting to force an issue where they can discredit or minimize the Viscount’s status? Or are they required to put up such a cowardly and flimsy disclaimer, by their dark overlords from the religion of Goremonism?
Regardless, the ball has been returned, and is in the APS court. I will be watching for any foot-faults.

For your viewing pleasure, one video presentation in two parts, based on Lord Monckton’s work.
Thirty Five Inconvenient Truths Part 1.
Thirty Five Inconvenient Truths Part 2.

*ADDENDUM* Arctic ice has actually increased by nearly a half million square miles over this time last year.

Announcing Grandnieces!

They got to come home from the hospital this week, and weighed just over 4 lbs. each at birth. They have a big sister, 3, and a big brother, 2. Their Mommy and Daddy will be very, very busy for the next 20 or so years.

Robin Long, Your Obligations Have Come Due!

A U.S. Army deserter who fled to Canada three years ago has been deported back to America to face possible court martial or a return trip to Iraq.

The Canadian Press.

And so he has, to much wailing and gnashing of teeth from the loons who have supported the many deserters that have fled to Canada.

I visited many of the websites and blogs that are devoted to encouraging and supporting people like Long, who make a commitment to their nation, then violate that agreement and flee to a country that will shelter them. I will not link to any of those sites, as they are the most pathetic group of destroyers of society you could possibly imagine. Duty, Honor, Country are meaningless words to them, as they only support their desire to promote anarchy and Marxism by undermining a nations ability or desire to provide a strong national defence. Perhaps there are some well intentioned people that associate with these groups, but they certainly are misguided and the leaders of these groups know exactly what they are doing, and why.
So do I.

So, to jab those anarchists and Marxist with a pointy stick, I say, Welcome Home, Robin. Your day in court will be forthcoming and perhaps not too soon. In the meantime, you will have many opportunities to learn a skill before entering the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks-Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, such as cleaning latrines, mopping with perfect figure eights and of course, being a master of the electric floor buffer.

I should also include a definition of desertion in this post:

U.S. military law: desertion is not measured by time away from the unit, but rather:
1) by leaving or remaining absent from their unit, organization, or place of duty, where there has been a determined intent to not return;
2) if that intent is determined to be to avoid hazardous duty or shirk important responsibility.
3c)Any person found guilty of desertion or attempt to desert shall be punished, if the offense is committed in time of war, by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct, but if the desertion or attempt to desert occurs at any other time, by such punishment, other than death, as a court-martial may direct.

The UCMJ is found in Title 10, Subtitle A, Part II, Chapter 47 of the United States Code. In Subchapter X, “Punitive Articles,” section 885, article 85, is found the remedy for desertion.

Some look at contracts in daily life as something that can be broken or ignored at will, with some legal wrangling to make things whole again. Signing a contract with the U.S. Army is not such a contract and is accompanied with a solemn oath. That this punk, Long, would volunteer for service, sign a contract and take the oath to defend the Constitution of the United States, then decide he didn’t want to take the chance of having his lovely locks harmed, or his sorry butt injured or killed, just walked away and fled the country. He deserves no better than what the Courts Martial decides. I doubt he will get the death penalty, that would do too much harm to the good will of Canada’s PM for sending him back. There are quite a few other deserters in Canada that need to be returned home for prosecution, to take such a punitive action and I would like to see them all returned and rewarded with the full weight of the UCMJ, and many years of military corrections followed with a dishonorable discharge, which is equivalent to a felony conviction and the loss of certain rights and privileges, such as the right to vote.
Once again, Welcome Home, Robin, you worthless sack of excrement, your obligations to this country, your word and your sacred oath have come due.

BTW, did you know there is an actual Memorial To Deserters in Ulm, Germany? I found it in my research and it honors the German deserters of WWII, of which 15,000 were executed.
The central idea behind the memorial? “Desertion is not reprehensible, war is”.
My! How profound and wrong-headed.
How many deserters were there? I don’t know, but with that high a number of executions, it must have been huge and of course we all know how badly WWII ended for Germany.

This further illustrates my contempt for those who do desert and especially for their enablers.

PPT has a busy weekend

Not much time was spent on the golf course this weekend for members of the Plunge Protection Team. Today’s announcement of a support plan for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac follows another grim week on Wall Street. Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke faced the impending meltdown of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with the only real tools at their disposal: expanded borrowing authority from the Fed, and, pending Congressional approval, direct government ownership of equity shares in the mortgage giants.

“Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac play a central role in our housing finance system and must continue to do so in their current form as shareholder-owner companies,” Paulson said Sunday. “Their support for the housing market is particuarly important as we work through the current housing correction.”

Last week’s market volatility culminated with a large-scale bank failure, numerous 52-week lows on the Dow, and the CEO’s of America’s largest financials wondering when and if the bloodletting would end.

Just one blogger’s guess, but I expect a strong market rally next week as news of the support plan for Fannie and Freddie gives a much needed shot of confidence to beleaguered investors. Hopefully, Congress will take a very close look at this and demand that government’s ownership positions will be both limited and temporary. I can dream, can’t I?

Update:
from WSJ

The federal government’s seizure of IndyMac Bank is deepening worries among executives, regulators and consumers about the U.S. banking industry, which is in a tightening bind following a long run of prosperity.

Banks and thrifts are struggling against a rising tide of bad loans, and it is becoming increasingly clear that some lenders won’t be able to dig their way out. While fewer banks are expected to fail than the 834 that went under from 1990 to 1992, it will likely take several years for battered financial institutions to work through their bad loans and replenish their depleted capital.

It may take longer than that. The BOGNONBR graph has been updated since our last look, and the trend shows no indication of changing direction. Quite the contrary: a 15% decrease in non-borrowed reserves from the previous month.

Update 2:

a grim assessment from UK Telegraph, predicts “de facto nationalisation of the banking systems in the US, Britain and Europe.”

I might have to reconsider my “Monday Rally” prediction.

RIP, Tony Snow

from CNN…

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Former White House press secretary Tony Snow — who once told reporters “I’m a very lucky guy” — died at the age of 53 early Saturday after a second battle with cancer.

Tony Snow responds to reporters at an October 2006 White House news conference.

Tony Snow responds to reporters at an October 2006 White House news conference.

Click to view previous image
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Snow, who had been undergoing chemotherapy treatments for a recurrence of the disease, left his White House job September 14, 2007, and joined CNN in April as a conservative commentator.

President Bush said Saturday that he and first lady Laura Bush were “deeply saddened” by Snow’s death.

“The Snow family has lost a beloved husband and father. And America has lost a devoted public servant and a man of character,” the president said in a statement.

Tony was fun to watch. His high-pitched voice took some getting used to, but he carried himself so well on camera that you didn’t notice his voice after a while.

Whether speaking for the White House, or as the original host of Fox News Sunday, Tony was always well-prepared, asking intelligent questions, and unafraid to confront the agenda-style journalists of the pack media mentality.

Tony was a breath of fresh air, and he will be missed.

====

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WFFOT: Mid-Life Crisis?

My plans for the weekend are to:

1) Till up my garden spot: I got me a very cool front-tine tiller from the building supply store. Gotta put it together, first. The spot is picked out, well-drained, sunlight for over 1/2 the day.
2) Go by the bargain barn and pick up some used windows for my greenhouse. I’m going to go ahead and lay in the materials that I need to build it. If our house doesn’t sell in the next month, I’m going to take it off the market, and build the greenhouse here.
3) Turn the compost heap.
4) Clean out the garage.

I was telling Mrs. Nuke about my plans for becoming a backyard vegetable engineer, especially since Doc told me I have to make some serious diet and lifestyle changes, and she just smiled and started singing this song. She is somehow convinced that I’m going through a mid-life crisis, but she doesn’t seem to mind too much.

She says it’s a heckuva lot cheaper than a sports car.

This is the World Famous Friday Open Thread. A free-speech zone.

WFFOT: Where the serious gardeners hang out.

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What’s in your emergency kit? Part 3

As Big Bertha spins in the Atlantic, the onset of the hurricane season is bringing up some uneasy memories for me of late August 2005. At a time that I believed I was fairly well prepared (and we were much better prepared than most), the fact remains that most of us are simply not ready for anything more than a temporary disruption of normality.

With that in mind, I ran across this post from a Georgia blogger named Darlene…

Top 100 Items to Disappear First During a National Emergency

1. Generators (Good ones cost dearly. Gas storage, risky. Noisy…target of thieves; maintenance etc.)
2. Water Filters/Purifiers
3. Portable Toilets
4. Seasoned Firewood. Wood takes about 6 – 12 months to become dried, for home uses.
5. Lamp Oil, Wicks, Lamps (First Choice: Buy CLEAR oil. If scarce, stockpile ANY!)
6. Coleman Fuel. Impossible to stockpile too much.
7. Guns, Ammunition, Pepper Spray, Knives, Clubs, Bats & Slingshots.
8. Hand-can openers, & hand egg beaters, whisks.
9. Honey/Syrups/white, brown sugar
10. Rice – Beans – Wheat
11. Vegetable Oil (for cooking) Without it food burns/must be boiled etc.,)
12. Charcoal, Lighter Fluid (Will become scarce suddenly)
13. Water Containers (Urgent Item to obtain.) Any size. Small: HARD CLEAR PLASTIC ONLY – note – food grade if for drinking.
16. Propane Cylinders (Urgent: Definite shortages will occur.)
17. Survival Guide Book.
18. Mantles: Aladdin, Coleman, etc. (Without this item, longer-term lighting is difficult.)
19. Baby Supplies: Diapers/formula. ointments/aspirin, etc.
20. Washboards, Mop Bucket w/wringer (for Laundry)
21. Cookstoves (Propane, Coleman & Kerosene)
22. Vitamins
23. Propane Cylinder Handle-Holder (Urgent: Small canister use is dangerous without this item)
24. Feminine Hygiene/Haircare/Skin products.
25. Thermal underwear (Tops & Bottoms)
26. Bow saws, axes and hatchets, Wedges (also, honing oil)
27. Aluminum Foil Reg. & Heavy Duty (Great Cooking and Barter Item)
28. Gasoline Containers (Plastic & Metal)
29. Garbage Bags (Impossible To Have Too Many).
30. Toilet Paper, Kleenex, Paper Towels
31. Milk – Powdered & Condensed (Shake Liquid every 3 to 4 months)
32. Garden Seeds (Non-Hybrid) (A MUST)
33. Clothes pins/line/hangers (A MUST)
34. Coleman’s Pump Repair Kit
35. Tuna Fish (in oil)
36. Fire Extinguishers (or..large box of Baking Soda in every room)
37. First aid kits
38. Batteries (all sizes…buy furthest-out for Expiration Dates)
39. Garlic, spices & vinegar, baking supplies
40. Big Dogs (and plenty of dog food)
41. Flour, yeast & salt
42. Matches. {“Strike Anywhere” preferred.) Boxed, wooden matches will go first
43. Writing paper/pads/pencils, solar calculators
44. Insulated ice chests (good for keeping items from freezing in Wintertime.)
45. Workboots, belts, Levis & durable shirts
46. Flashlights/LIGHTSTICKS & torches, “No. 76 Dietz” Lanterns
47. Journals, Diaries & Scrapbooks (jot down ideas, feelings, experience; Historic Times)
48. Garbage cans Plastic (great for storage, water, transporting – if with wheels)
49. Men’s Hygiene: Shampoo, Toothbrush/paste, Mouthwash/floss, nail clippers, etc
50. Cast iron cookware (sturdy, efficient)
51. Fishing supplies/tools
52. Mosquito coils/repellent, sprays/creams
53. Duct Tape
54. Tarps/stakes/twine/nails/rope/spikes
55. Candles
56. Laundry Detergent (liquid)
57. Backpacks, Duffel Bags
58. Garden tools & supplies
59. Scissors, fabrics & sewing supplies
60. Canned Fruits, Veggies, Soups, stews, etc.
61. Bleach (plain, NOT scented: 4 to 6% sodium hypochlorite)
62. Canning supplies, (Jars/lids/wax)
63. Knives & Sharpening tools: files, stones, steel
64. Bicycles…Tires/tubes/pumps/chains, etc
65. Sleeping Bags & blankets/pillows/mats
66. Carbon Monoxide Alarm (battery powered)
67. Board Games, Cards, Dice
68. d-con Rat poison, MOUSE PRUFE II, Roach Killer
69. Mousetraps, Ant traps & cockroach magnets
70. Paper plates/cups/utensils (stock up, folks)
71. Baby wipes, oils, waterless & Antibacterial soap (saves a lot of water)
72. Rain gear, rubberized boots, etc.
73. Shaving supplies (razors & creams, talc, after shave)
74. Hand pumps & siphons (for water and for fuels)
75. Soysauce, vinegar, bullions/gravy/soupbase
76. Reading glasses
77. Chocolate/Cocoa/Tang/Punch (water enhancers)
78. “Survival-in-a-Can”
79. Woolen clothing, scarves/ear-muffs/mittens
80. Boy Scout Handbook, / also Leaders Catalog
81. Roll-on Window Insulation Kit (MANCO)
82. Graham crackers, saltines, pretzels, Trail mix/Jerky
83. Popcorn, Peanut Butter, Nuts
84. Socks, Underwear, T-shirts, etc. (extras)
85. Lumber (all types)
86. Wagons & carts (for transport to and from)
87. Cots & Inflatable mattress’s
88. Gloves: Work/warming/gardening, etc.
89. Lantern Hangers
90. Screen Patches, glue, nails, screws,, nuts & bolts
91. Teas
92. Coffee
93. Cigarettes
94. Wine/Liquors (for bribes, medicinal, etc,)
95. Paraffin wax
96. Glue, nails, nuts, bolts, screws, etc.
97. Chewing gum/candies
98. Atomizers (for cooling/bathing)
99. Hats & cotton neckerchiefs
100. Livestock

linkage: Equipped to Survive

Homestead Products

VaTech, D.O.E, Russians, collaborators study rare microorganism that produces hydrogen

An ancient organism from the pit of a collapsed volcano may hold the key to tomorrow’s hydrogen economy. Scientists from across the world have formed a team to unlock the process refined by a billions-year old archaea. The U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute will expedite the research by sequencing the hydrogen-producing organism for comparative genomics.

When members of the Russian Academy of Sciences isolated a rare archaeal microorganism that breaks down cellulose and produces hydrogen, Biswarup Mukhopadhyay, an assistant professor with the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech, saw an opportunity to open a door for development of a cellulose-based high-temperature hydrogen production process. “Hydrogen can be easily converted to electrical and mechanical energy without any production of carbon dioxide,” said Mukhopadhyay, whose lab specializes in very high temperature or hyperthermophilic archaea and in energy production.

Promising research, indeed. VT’s Mukhopadhyay said, “This is just the beginning of an exploration of hitherto unknown processes with potential to advance energy production and having a team will make it more innovative, productive and fun.”

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h/t Free Republic

Democrats Having Trouble Organizing Their Convention

From the New York Times:

Some of the Democratic missteps started soon after planning for the event began. The Democratic National Convention Committee decided not to take cheap office space and instead rented top-quality offices in downtown Denver at $100,000 a month, only to need less than half the space, which it then filled with rental furniture at $50,000 a month. And in a costly misstep, the Denver host committee, early on, told corporate donors that their contributions were not tax-deductible, rather than to encourage donations by saying that the tax-exempt application was pending and expected to be approved.

Overly ambitious environmental goals — to turn the event into a “green” convention — have backfired as only three states’ full delegations have so far agreed to participate in the program. Negotiations over where to locate demonstrators remain unsettled with members of the national news media concerned over proposals to locate the demonstrators — with their loud gatherings — next to the media tent.

And then there is the food: A 28-page contract requested by Denver organizers that caterers provide food in “at least three of the following five colors: red, green, yellow, blue/purple and white.” Garnishes could not be counted toward the colors. No fried foods would be allowed. Organic and locally grown foods were mandated, and each plate had to be 50 percent fruits and vegetables. As a result, caterers are shying away.

If I were a caterer, I’d run, not walk, away from that mess, particularly since when I took the contract, I might have to be planning my menu on a locally organically grown crop that may not have been planted yet. Yikes. Even with marking up the prices an additional 200% because I know they’re going to be pains in the butt to deal with, it wouldn’t be worth it. Luckily I don’t have to make my living catering to people’s food preferences.

I find it interesting as well that they do not trust their members to choose on their own what they wish to eat. Nope, no choices at the Democratic party convention because adults cannot be trusted to choose correctly if given choices. What are they afraid of, that the caterers will bring deep fried Twinkies as an appetizer and the delegates will ignore the rainbow of produce and pig out on that instead? *sigh* Well, maybe “locally grown” means California and at least the southerners can get some watermelon or cantelope. Plus maybe the delegates can sneak out and have some nachos, guacamole, and tamales when nobody is looking.

Now for that whole “green” mandate thing….what is it with the Democrats that they take more than twice what they need of the most expensive office space in Denver? One hundred thousand dollars a month in rent? A green mandate would be pitching a tent, putting in some Porta Potties and making do. Fifty thousand dollars a month for renting office furniture for unneeded space? Please. Apparently accountants are all Republicans.

Independence Day! Celebrate 232 Years Of Freedom!


An unknown author’s verse on Old Glory:

I am whatever you make me, nothing more.

I am your belief in yourself, your dream of what a people may become.

I am a day’s work of the weakest man and the largest dream of the most daring.

I am the clutch of an idea and the reasoned purpose of resolution.

I am no more than you believe me to be and I am all that you believe I can be.

I am whatever you make me, nothing more.

Our nation has set an example for all of mankind, in freedom and liberty. Irrespective of the challenges, it is our foundation, grounded in the belief that free men can overcome any obstacle, meet any hardship, pay any price, and always prevail. It is this belief that inspires many to give of themselves so greatly, that this nation, and it’s short history, can continue to inspire the dreams of it’s citizen’s, and those who wish to be.
God Bless America!
May all who believe in the natural yearning of man, to be free, be blessed on this special holiday.

*Fourth Of July Celebrations Database*
A lifelong labor of love by James R. Heintze.

The shakedown begins today

Normally, I don’t like to let other people speak for me, but today I read this column by Howie Carr of the Boston Herald, and it’s as if he had read my mind. This is one of those rare times when I can honestly say that I absolutely, positively agree with everything he says here.

But before I hand it off to Howie, I want to make a few points of my own. First, I am not trying to defend cigarettes. Anyone who hasn’t lived under a rock for the last forty years knows that cigarettes are bad for you. But it’s unfair and just plain wrong to keep picking the pockets of smokers simply because they have become a politically impotent minority. Funny how you never see anyone suggest an increase in the tax on booze.

It simply amazes me how proponents of this tax manage to say–with a straight face–that this increase will simultaneously decrease smoking and increase revenue. Those who think they can tax tobacco out of existence are sadly deluded on two counts. First, there are three things that humans have always done: drink, smoke, and gamble. They have always been willing to spend money to do these things, and they have always been willing to break the law to do these things. Laws prohibiting these things have never actually stopped them, merely driven them underground and into the hands of criminals.

Secondly, they are truly deluded if they think the government really wants to eliminate smoking. Tobacco taxes are an integral part of any state’s budget. Without tobacco taxes, there would be a serious shortfall that would have to be made up with–guess what?–more taxes.

But there is such a thing as killing the proverbial goose that lays the golden egg. You can push people too far, and, judging from conversations I’ve had with people, we in Taxachusetts may very well be at that point. Governor Tailpipe tells us that it will raise $1.74 million in new tax revenue. Yeah, for New Hampshire. Live Free or Die? Well, New Hampshire may not be free, but they’re a hell of a lot cheaper than Massachusetts.

Howie mentions that the vote was 93-52, with 33 Democrats joining the 19 lonely Republicans in our state House. Had there been a Republican governor in the Corner Office instead of Governor Tailpipe, a veto could have been sustained.

Where have you gone, William Weld? Our Commonwealth turns it’s lonely eyes to you.

-Smith

“taking up a glowing cinder with the tongs and lighting with it the long cherry-wood pipe which was wont to replace his clay when he was in a disputatious rather than a meditative mood”–Dr. John H. Watson

Please visit my blog at murderofravens.org

A View From The State of Jefferson

There’s been a lot of activity around here as of late. And on the occasion of Nuke’s 200,000 milestone it looks like we’re all going to visit. So here’s an overview of the fires burning in my neck of the woods.

Video Courtesy of Shasta Lake Bulletin

Firefighters at last got some help from the air Monday, thanks to a respite from nearly a week of smoky skies.

Throughout the afternoon, the giant Martin Mars bomber dumped its 7,200-gallon tank on fires being fought on Lime Complex, while smaller air tankers and helicopters pounded fires elsewhere. Mary Loan, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service, said that the Martin Mars made five drops in five and a half hours, with more drops scheduled for today.

Martin Mars Video

Their efforts seemed to pay off.

On Monday, the last of the evacuations were lifted in many fire-threatened communities in Shasta and Trinity counties, including Junction City, Helena and the Big Foot Campground and Trailer Park.

Below are updates on fires burning in the north state. All information comes from the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection:

The Deerlick Complex:

The Deerlick Complex of fires west of Ono was 16,000 acres and 5 percent contained.

The Democrat and Motion fires:

The Democrat and Motion fires, which have grown together near Keswick and Shasta dams, are at 16,000 acres and 20 percent contained.

Firefighters lit backfires Saturday to divert the flames from the areas around power lines and the powerhouse at the dam. Power lines continue to be a concern. Crews are especially looking out for the community of Keswick.

Zogg Mine Fire:

This fire in the Igo-Ono area was still listed as 80 percent contained at 74 acres. No structures have been lost. On Sunday, Shasta County sheriff’s deputies initiated a “soft closure” on Zogg Mine Road and South Fork Road, leaving open the roads for residents only.

Moon Fire Complex:

The Moon Fire, northwest of Ono, burned 17,000 acres and was 5 percent contained Monday evening. Fire behavior is considered extreme.

Hard closures are still in effect in the Buell and Platina road areas, but no structures have been lost.

The Pine and Donkey fires:

The Pine and Donkey blazes, which also have merged, are at 1,230 acres and 95 percent contained.

Barley Fire:

This fire in southwest Shasta County held at 1,000 acres in the Graves Ranch area. It continued at 5 percent containment Monday.

Lower Grass Valley Fire:

The Upper Grass Valley Fire near Buckhorn Summit has merged with the Lower Grass Valley Fire, taking on its name. Firefighters gained the upper hand on the blaze Sunday, knocking it down to 375 acres with 95 percent containment.

The Stein Fire:

The Stein Fire near the Pit River arm of Lake Shasta is 90 percent contained and has burned 667 acres.

The Iron Complex:

Some 18,117 acres had burned here by Monday, and the complex was 55 percent contained. Evacuation orders were lifted Sunday for the Helena and Canyon Creek areas.

Ziegler Fire:

Fire line work also continues on the Ziegler Fire, which could threaten the community of Hawkins Bar. Periodic closures for fire debris clean-up are expected on Highway 299.

Trails are closed at the Canyon Creek Trailhead, which is in the Granite Fire area. Fire managers said they expect the Eagle Fire will continue to grow to the south, and the Ironsides and Don Juan fires will grow east and north.

The Ziegler Fire is moving slowly southward and could also spread west.

Backfires are being lit on the north side of the fire to block a spread in that direction. The Cedar Fire will continue to spread east and north.

Alps Complex:

Most of the fires in this complex continued to grow. The Alps Complex changed Monday from 15 fires to 13, with 2,650 acres burning and containment at 2 percent.

The Buckhorn fires:

The Buckhorn fires are moving north and east toward the Clem Fire and have reached a dozer line protecting the Brooks Ranch.

Trail cleaning and clearing will take place on the Granite Creek Fire in an effort to hold that blaze in Bear and Canyon creeks. That fire also is growing north and east.

Lime Complex:

Fires across 35,445 acres in eastern Trinity County were 36 percent contained. Firefighters planned to set backfires in the next several days to strengthen containment lines around the Miners and Lime fires. Twenty-two fires remain unstaffed within the Lime complex. Crews will focus on the Telephone, Noble, Lime, Iron (within the Yolla-Bolly Wilderness), other wilderness fires, Miners, Deadshot and Rainbow fires.

SHF June Lightning Complex:

Crews had contained 31 of the 34 fires in the group, with about 250 acres burning. The Murphy and Rey fires were still going.

Whiskeytown Complex:

Four wildfires on Shasta Bally have charred nearly 4,000 acres and were 20 percent contained on Monday.

All ranger-guided programs were cancelled through Sunday. Oak Bottom public launch ramp, the marina, the marina boat rentals and stores will remain open to the public. Brandy Creek beach, marina, and the Whiskey Creek launch ramps are open despite smoky conditions. The Oak Bottom Tent and RV Campground, and Oak Bottom Beach areas will be closed to support a base camp for firefighters. Visit www.nps.gov/whis for updated information on the Whiskeytown fires.

Siskiyou Complex:

These fires continue to burn near Highway 96 but away from homes and property.

The fires Monday morning were at 7,725 acres and 20 percent containment.

Highway 96 along the Klamath River was opened Monday to traffic, but cars needed to follow a pilot vehicle through the smoke.

Tehama County:

The Antelope Creek Fire was contained at 3,410 acres. The Mill Fire had charred 13,580 acres and was also fully contained.

The Noble Fire burned 12,500 acres on Tehama County land. Firefighters in that county had it 80 percent contained.

Peterson Complex:

The Popcorn and Peterson fires southwest of McArthur in eastern Shasta County merged into a single 7,824-acre blaze, which was fully contained on Saturday.

A map of California Fires

There are many more fires burning that are not mapped or reported on regularly.

Greetings from loony Massachusetts!

One of the great things about living in Massachusetts is that it is impossible for me to pick up a newspaper and not find something that winds me up so much I want to blog about it. Unfortunately, I don’t always find the time to do so. So much insanity, so little time. And so, tonight I’m just going to wind up and let it fly. Here are a few things that are pissing me off right now:

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick: Don’t blame me, I voted for Kerry Healy. Unfortunately, the majority of people in this notoriously liberal state were sucked in by this fast talkin’ salesman. Where do I begin with this guy?

For starters, Governor Tailpipe is once again pushing legislation that would grant illegal immigrants the right to attend state colleges here at the substantially reduced, in-state tuition rate. He calls it a matter of “simple justice”. He really doesn’t seem to understand that the citizens of a state with one of the highest tax burdens in the country simply don’t want their tax dollars to provide free or reduced college tuition to someone who shouldn’t even be here in the first place. Of course, this should come as no surprise from a governor who also favors giving illegal immigrants drivers’ licenses.

With the exception of the Indigenous American Tribes (and even their ancestors originally came from Asia), everyone living in the United States is either an immigrant, or the descendant of immigrants. I am the descendant of immigrants. The difference is my ancestors did it legally. They got jobs, learned the English language, and became citizens. So the operative word here is not “immigrant”. The operative word is “illegal”. An illegal immigrant is, by definition, breaking the law. When you’re breaking the law you have few rights; at best you have privileges. You certainly don’t have the right to make demands.

Truth be told, I consider myself a moderate on this issue. I really don’t blame anyone for wanting to live here instead of a shit hole like Mexico. I’m all in favor of devising a system that can help foreigners become citizens, and thereby encourage others to do it the right way as well. But all that said, I don’t believe in rewarding people for breaking the law. Apparently Governor Tailpipe does.

Moving right long, the Governor is just giddy at the prospect of signing a bill that would increase the tax on a pack of cigarettes to $2.51 per pack, making Massachusetts number two in the nation in this regard, behind only New Jersey. Cigarette taxes are like crack to the politicians on Beacon Hill. The eternal problem for politicians is how to raise taxes without getting themselves booted out of office. Raising taxes makes the voters mad, and voters can send them back to the Dreaded Private Sector quite easily if they get mad enough. Enter the tobacco tax. For your typical rapacious politician, it’s like a gift from God: they get to stick their grubby hands even deeper into someone’s pocket and still look like heroes to the soccer moms, since it’s usually not the soccer moms’ pocket that’s being picked. Really, it’s almost too good to be true if you’re a politician.

There’s only one problem with this gutless, cynical bullshit: it doesn’t work. Politicians breathlessly tell us “It’s for the children”. But the money doesn’t go towards education, at least not in Massachusetts. It just goes into the general fund to balance the budget. But it sure makes the soccer moms happy to believe that “it’s for the children”.

They tell us that the goal is to raise revenue, and to encourage people to quit smoking. Sadly, the liberal lemmings in this state actually buy this argument. What seems to elude them is the simple fact you can’t raise revenue AND reduce smoking. It’s one or the other. You can’t have both.

And in fact, it’s probably going to be neither. People aren’t going to quit, nor will the state raise the revenue it’s hoping to, since people are just going to buy cigarettes in New Hampshire or over the Internet. God forbid they should raise the tax on booze a few cents, but they won’t: that would actually take some guts.

The sheer hypocrisy of all this lies in the fact that a few months ago, Governor Tailpipe, Senate President Therese Murray, and House Speaker Sal DiMasi held a joint press conference to announce that there would be no new broad based taxes in Massachusetts this year. Of course, they were careful to mention that the cigarette tax is not broad based. Apparently they’re not aware that in this country there are still over 150 millions smokers. Sounds pretty broad based to me.

Further bear in mind that most (although by no means all) cigarette smokers come from the lower end of the economic spectrum. I find it supremely ironic that while the Democratic Party in this state loves to trumpet itself as the liberal, compassionate hero of the poor and working class, compassion for the poor evidently goes out the window when they smell a fast buck.

Next, we come to James Fagan, the Democratic State Rep. from Taunton. Having evidently decided that lawyers and politicians aren’t despised enough, Rep. Fagan apparently decided to fix all that. In a bizarre speech delivered from the State House floor, Fagan argued against a mandatory 20 year sentence for the rape of a child under twelve. I’m not even going to try to paraphrase what this nitwit said. Click here and listen for yourself.

Now, in fairness to Rep. Fagan, the video that is circulating around the internet does rather conveniently cut in at just the right point to make him look as bad as possible. What the clip doesn’t show is Fagan setting up his remarks by stating that he is talking about a hypothetical defense attorney, not necessarily himself (although I rather suspect that Fagan, a defense attorney, would not shrink from those tactics).

But even if we allow for that, he still showed remarkably poor judgment in the way he presented his argument. Beyond that, there are still some rather disturbing issues here. First and foremost, Rep. Fagan feels that a twenty year sentence for raping a child under 12 is “draconian”. All sarcasm aside for a moment, when I first read this story, my first reaction was, “only 20 years for child rape? That’s pretty lenient.” Now perhaps this was just Fagan’s defense attorney instincts kicking in, but that leads me to the inescapable conclusion that Fagan is really just another lawyer/legislator, bending the rules to suit his trade simply because he can.

As tempting as it is to think otherwise, even a child molester in entitled to a fair trial. More importantly, the rights of those falsely accused must be protected. But the other issue is, what do we do with an eight year old victim/witness? Should she even be on the stand at all? While there is certainly room for debate here, I think most people would agree that a child who has already been violently traumatized once should be spared the further trauma of what would await her if her attacker ever had James Fagan for a defense attorney. This was, in fact Fagan’s point. But the fear of further traumatizing a child is a compelling argument for changing the way that child would give evidence, not for giving a child molester a cushy plea bargain to avoid a trial

Ironically, Fagan was the solon who proposed legislation to lower the blood alcohol limit from .08 to .02, which could put drivers who have even one beer or glass of wine during dinner over the limit. Luckily, this bit of nonsense never made it off the ground. I guess in the world of James Fagan, having a beer after work is off limits, but throwing a child rapist in jail for twenty years? Draconian!

Well, that’s all for now, but rest assured, in Massachusetts, there’s always more where this came from.

-Smith

“taking up a glowing cinder with the tongs and lighting with it the long cherry-wood pipe which was wont to replace his clay when he was in a disputatious rather than a meditative mood”–Dr. John H. Watson

Please visit my blog at murderofravens.org

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