Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Whom to Boycott

I am extremely irritated by the defense that Roman Polanski has received by many who are connected to the entertainment business.

When did child rape become defensible? When did drugging 13 year old girls become a sympathetic activity? When did 44 year old men receive moral license to intimidate pubescent girls into sexual activity? If this were a 44 year old boss working in corporate America who had commented on a subordinate woman's breasts, he could expect to be vilified by every left-wing leaning actor, actress and director out there. It would be harassment and actionable. Who knows, maybe a movie would ensue.

Not these days. No, today we have Hollywood types lining up in support of a child rapist who has finally been arrested for a crime he himself has admitted to. His excuse has always been, essentially, that everyone wants to make it with little girls--he is only guilty of acting on a common desire.

Well, no wonder they are so sympathetic.

Now it is being suggested by some of the beautiful people that Switzerland should be boycotted for arresting the amorous opportunist. They are appalled that the Swiss would use a film festival as a guise to arrest Polanski. It is not fair. Polanski, they argue, felt he was safe in such a situation and the government's piercing of that perceived safety is a breach of trust.

A trust, it seems, that a 13 year old girl who made the mistake of going to a photo shoot with an unregistered pedophile with urges, should not expect to feel entitled to.

I think the wrong people are being boycotted.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

NPR Covers the UP

The Upper Peninsula rarely receives this kind of attention though it is richly deserved.

Please notice too the right panel in which there are several additional links to other articles about the U.P.

If there was ever a reason

to boycott the insanity of Hollywood it is its mindless defense of child rapist Roman Polanski.

That this pedophile has been allowed to travel the globe for thirty years free of punishment for his admitted guilt is tragic. That he is being defended by the beautiful people of entertainment because of his supposed contributions to film making is even more ludicrous.

We should not defend teacher rapists because of their contributions to education, nor should we defend priest molesters because of their dedication to the faith. No, we should toss their butts in jail just like we should Polanski. Why should Polanski get a pass because he has made some thought provoking artsy films and has Jack Nicholson for a friend?

As always, Whoopi has an opinion. She hates waterboarding. Anal child rape? Not necessarily.

h/ts to Ric's Rulez and Darlene at Protein Wisdom

Honoring Communist China

The Empire State Building will be bathed in red and yellow tomorrow to commemorate the 60th anniversary of communist China's bloody founding.

It is estimated that between 40,000,000 and 50,000,000 people were killed either outright by the communist regime or starved through China's misguided controls of agriculture, thought, and economy.

What's not to celebrate?

h/t Protein Wisdom

Another Life Tarnished By Drugs--Indiana Grandma Behind Bars!

I remember the old SNL skit where Dan Ackroyd and Bill Murray stormed into an apartment dressed as police officers and senselessly beat two suspected lesbians to death. In the end the X-police sadly lamented that homosexuality had claimed two more victims.

We have entered into that same state of ridiculousness in America where law enforcement officials can with a straight face defend themselves for handcuffing Grandma and tossing her in the back of a police cruiser for the hardened crime of buying two packages of cold medicine in less than one week's time.

When Sally Harpold bought cold medicine for her family back in March, she never dreamed that four months later she would end up in handcuffs.

Now, Harpold is trying to clear her name of criminal charges, and she is speaking out in hopes that a law will change so others won’t endure the same embarrassment she still is facing.

“This is a very traumatic experience,” Harpold said.

Harpold is a grandmother of triplets who bought one box of Zyrtec-D cold medicine for her husband at a Rockville pharmacy. Less than seven days later, she bought a box of Mucinex-D cold medicine for her adult daughter at a Clinton pharmacy, thereby purchasing 3.6 grams total of pseudoephedrine in a week’s time.

Those two purchases put her in violation of Indiana law 35-48-4-14.7, which restricts the sale of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, or PSE, products to no more than 3.0 grams within any seven-day period.
Pseudoephedrine is used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. Her ignorance of this fact is no excuse. Her ignorance of the law is no excuse either. Come to think of it, the fact that she had no intent to abuse the product or make meth is no excuse either. Granny has broken the law. Pick her up!

Ken over at Popehat sums it up nicely.
Shut up, Sally Harpold and her supporters. Shut up, or it means you hate poor little meth babies. Shut up, or it means you are in favor of people destroying their lives with methamphetamine. Shut up, and don’t question government officials when they come up with increasingly arbitrary, hare-brained schemes calculated to make them look like they are doing something. Shut up, and love the little children.
Read Ken's whole take on things.

Then we can all lament the fact that illegal drugs may have helped ruin another life.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Green Hypocrisy

Some dead birds are more equal than others.

On Aug. 13, ExxonMobil pleaded guilty in federal court to killing 85 birds that had come into contact with crude oil or other pollutants in uncovered tanks or waste-water facilities on its properties. The birds were protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which dates back to 1918. The company agreed to pay $600,000 in fines and fees.

ExxonMobil is hardly alone in running afoul of this law. Over the past two decades, federal officials have brought hundreds of similar cases against energy companies. In July, for example, the Oregon-based electric utility PacifiCorp paid $1.4 million in fines and restitution for killing 232 eagles in Wyoming over the past two years. The birds were electrocuted by poorly-designed power lines.

Yet there is one group of energy producers that are not being prosecuted for killing birds: wind-power companies. And wind-powered turbines are killing a vast number of birds every year.
h/t small dead animals

DHS Proves More Cuts are Possible

It is hard to imagine that there isn't a bit more money that can be cut from Michigan's DHS budget when it feels it still has enough resources to chase down and prosecute parents who might happen to watch over a neighbor's child or two before the bus arrives.

What we have here is not a government of the people. This is a government that operates on a plane above the people that seeks to herd and manipulate the population through intimidation. Why? Because it is their duty!

MIDDLEVILLE, Mich. (WZZM) - A West Michigan woman says the state is threatening her with fines and possibly jail time for babysitting her neighbors' children.

Lisa Snyder of Middleville says her neighborhood school bus stop is right in front of her home. It arrives after her neighbors need to be at work, so she watches three of their children for 15-40 minutes until the bus comes.

The Department of Human Services received a complaint that Snyder was operating an illegal child care home. DHS contacted Snyder and told her to get licensed, stop watching her neighbors' kids, or face the consequences.
If the DHS has enough resources to pay attention to this sort of thing they have too many resources.

In all honesty, I do not know of one single contemporary of mine who was either raised or raised children of his/her own in a fashion that would not run afoul of today's do-all-end-all-solve-all-fix-all government.

Birthday parties? Against the law! Baby sitting? Against the law! Kids in the yard playing baseball? Against the law! I'm sorry, but it is time for these jerks to get a grip and come to terms with their own diminishing importance.

Governer Granholm, I just found another $50 million in cuts!

h/t Protein Wisdom

Cold Fury has more.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

There is no Freedom of Softness in the Bill of Rights

"We're here from the environmental police, ma'am. Do you have any 2-ply on the premises?"

We Could Use Us Some Edumication

I wrote a week or so ago that those of us that live up here in the sticks are given short shift when it comes to our regional concerns. In essence, it was my point that regardless of the issue, regardless of the regional import, regardless of the impact on northerners versus the impact on southeastern Michiganders, it would largely be those in the Detroit area making the decisions.

I admitted then, and I admit now, that this is the way that it is, and population centers deserve more power than do us rural hicks anyway. After all, most of us country folk lose a majority of our teeth shortly after puberty and have only recently discovered the benefits of a good flush toilet. We need the guidance.

Now I hear that legislators have been meeting feverishly in Lansing to determine what bloody cuts it might be forced to make in order to balance our state's disastrous budget. I hear too that education is involved in these considerations. It makes complete logical sense to me that education would be one of those areas heaviest hit by the proposed cost cutting. After all, you cannot cut where you haven't spent. (Unless, that is, you are talking about cutting taxes to people who don't pay any. That can be done in a snap.)

A lot of big numbers are being thrown around. Perhaps one of the most significant is the $218 per student that state officials say will need to be cut to local school districts in order to help close the budget shortfall. The Detroit Free Press has posted a PDF document that does the math on how this cut will affect individual districts based upon their enrollment.

Two hundred and eighteen dollars is a lot of money when it is multiplied by the number of students in just about any district. But, $218 is a lot more money for schools that are funded at the tragically named "foundation grant" minimum of $7,316 per student, than it is for rich districts that receive much more money per student.

As an example, schools receiving the minimum per pupil funding would lose an equivalent of 2.98 percent per student, while the richest district of Bloomfield Hills, which receives $12,444 per student from the state, would lose only 1.75 percent of their funding.

If the goal is to come up with a certain number of dollars to be cut state wide from education, clearly the most equitable way to do this is to reduce funding to districts on a percentage basis rather than a basis that allows politically empowered (and rich) districts to keep more unto themselves while toothless northern children are forced to learn their gozintas on crudely fashioned desks made from deer antlers and dirt.

Of course, in the grand scheme of things, there are relatively few students that are compensated for at a much higher rate than the $7,316 minimum. If Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, etc., were to have their budgets cut by a fairer $400 or so per student rather than the $218 evenly suggested for every district, the money saved from such an adjustment wouldn't amount to much of any reduction in cuts for the other districts. While this is certainly true, I do not believe it should relieve state legislators from such considerations just because rich districts have greater resources to fight these battles. (Incidentally, if a real battle does erupt you should be warned that our kids know how to use slingshots.)

The budget process is not an easy one especially in hard times when revenues are plummeting. In light of that, if education dollars need to be cut, so be it. However, the Michigan legislature owes it to the entire state of Michigan and its children that any cuts that are made are made equitably.

cross posted at Right Michigan

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Lansing, Again

Does orthodontia ever end?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

John Conyers Springs Into Action

John Conyers was very concerned about allegations made in 1998 in Arkansas against ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, when a contractor for one of its affiliated groups was arrested for falsifying almost 400 voter registration cards. Conyers, like the skilled politician he has proven himself to be during his century or so in office, was able to set aside these concerns after determining that a one-time fraud could not be indicative of the total operation.

I'm certain Conyers was extremely concerned too in 2003 when it was alleged that the registration cards ACORN submitted in St. Louis were only 37% valid. But, since it had been five years since the previous incident, Conyers wisely decided to hold his tongue and keep a closer eye on the organization to assure its motives and means continued to be as clean as the wind driven snow.

In 2004, when voter registration fraud was alleged against ACORN and its contractors in Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, Conyers had tolerated almost more than he could stand. It took a Herculean effort to keep from marching down to ACORN himself and busting some heads. He decided, thankfully, on a more modest and silent approach in which he would take detailed notes.

Again in 2005, when allegations surfaced in Colorado, Virginia and New Mexico over ACORN perpetrated voter fraud, our Johnny on the spot Conyers squirmed with indignation over the abuses. Taxpayer money might be being wasted in a mass-scale fraud! There was perjury! There was forgery! There may have been other crimes that end in 'ry' committed! If not for the Godlike self-control of one John Conyers, heads would have been lopped off that very day!

In 2006, ACORN once again had employees under federal indictment, this time in Missouri. Since it was the only major problem involving ACORN for the year, Mr. Conyers took a pill, got his blood pressure down to a normal level, and then spent a bunch of quality time his temperate and genteel wife, Monica.

2007, however, was a year of great disappointment for John Conyers. ACORN representatives were charged with voter registration related crimes in Washington (worst in state history,) Ohio, and again in Missouri. Why, if it hadn't been for the barely noticeable transgressions during the previous year, Mr. Conyers would have been all over those fraud merchants.

In the year 2008 a great anger settled within the spirit of John Conyers. ACORN had once again been accused of frauds, this time in Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin. It was decided right then and there. All it will take, thought John Conyers, is one more year of inexcusable and embarrassing behavior by ACORN before I will jump all over it! And I mean it!

Now it is 2009.

Even more voter fraud allegations have surfaced this year against ACORN, this time in Pennsylvania and Nevada. Also, an amateur film team disguised itself as a laughable pimp and unconvincing hooker and went undercover to investigate the organization at various offices. This journalistic investigation was one

in which individuals have reportedly visited ACORN offices, misrepresented their identities and proposed activities, surreptitiously videotaped resulting conversations with ACORN workers, and widely distributed them.”

“Conflicting allegations have been made about the propriety of these activities. Please research and report on the federal and state laws that could apply to such videotaping and distribution of conversations without the consent of all parties.”
Indeed, John Conyers has finally sprung into action.

h/t Rotton Acorn

Clunker Numbers Are In

Well, not the clunker numbers really, but the new vehicles that were purchased from auto dealerships through the cash for clunkers program.

There are some interesting things to note among the total numbers.

For instance, thirteen of the twenty hottest selling vehicles under the program were manufactured by foreign owned automobile companies.

Chevrolet, a product of GM, one of only two American automobile companies that accepted aid from the federal government, had three vehicles on the list. One of those three vehicles was the Chevrolet Silverado, a truck not widely recognized as being a gas saver. Chrysler, the other American producer to accept aid, had no cars on the top twenty list. Ford had three vehicles on the list, one of them being the F-150 truck.

Some environmentalists had complained that the program would lead some consumers to trade in their clunkers to buy a Hummer. The data showed that 15 2009 Hummer H3T with four-wheel drive models were purchased through Clunkers.
There is no doubt that the cash for clunkers program will pad the sales statistics for the time that it was in place. The next challenge for manufacturers will be to keep the sales momentum going despite high unemployment and low consumer confidence.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Protect Me!

When local Traverse City officials contemplate the banning of smoking in city parks I have to think of them as being good faith operators. I believe that they want to eliminate smoking for all the right reasons.

"People need to understand that parks should encourage active lifestyles and healthy living. That's what parks should represent," said Nathan Elkins, chairman of Traverse City's Parks and Recreation Commission.
When did it become the de facto purpose of public lands to set a social agenda, and when this purpose was determined, why was it universally decided that the lands in question needed to celebrate a healthy lifestyle rather than say, a lifestyle of freedom? Aren't both necessary to harbor the wonders of a functioning democracy? (Well, actually no. A functioning free society could theoretically be created and maintained by a bunch of pot bellied pork eaters, while a society of physically fit humans can live in a virtual boot camp with practically no freedom? Sorry, I like to quibble.)
The parks commission recommends city commissioners adopt a total smoke-free policy for city parks because it would be easier to enforce than an ordinance that called for no smoking within so many feet of playground equipment, pavilions and such, said Lauren Vaughn, the city's parks and recreation superintendent.

"I think this is a great idea," said Commissioner Jim Carruthers.

Carruthers is often frustrated by smokers who litter by throwing their cigarette butts on the ground, litter that eventually washes into storm drains and into the bay, he said.
I admit that smokers leave those little butts laying everywhere, and they have no one to blame but themselves for the scrutiny that this creates, heck, dog owners have to pick up more disgusting things when Fido does his business, but aren't there already anti-littering ordinances on the books to keep slobbish smokers from tossing trash on the ground?

Why does a difficulty in law enforcement have to result in the restricting of freedoms instead of the expansion of freedom?
Others agreed.

"I think this is a step we should take for public safety, if nothing else," said Commissioner Ralph Soffredine.

Lisa Danto, coordinator for the Traverse Bay Area Tobacco Coalition, said second-hand smoke is dangerous -- even outdoors -- considering how many children use city parks. Additionally, adults who smoke in city parks set a bad example for young people, she said.

"If kids see that it's normal, they are more likely to try it," Danto said.

A proposed ordinance will be written for city commissioners to consider, said R. Ben Bifoss, city manager.
Of course, the most talked about reason behind this sort of ordinance is the protection of park users from the dangers of second hand smoke.

We will see how seriously city commissioners take this safety crusade if their attempts at protecting the health of park users end at outlawing smoking in parks while allowing the insidious use of particulate producing campfires and the consumption of carcinogen laden grilled animal meats on property.

How else are we to judge the sincere benevolence of our rulers if we are not equally protected from all potential danger?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Creating the Creative

Teaching is not an easy job. I get that. My kids still don't pick up their stuff like they should and say "like" too often.

I therefore appreciate teachers that thinks long and hard about their job day after day. Our society has changed and the children have changed too. I admire teachers who try to replace ineffective teaching methods with new ones that are more challenging and thought provoking to today's students who are entering a post-adolescent world with more challenges than the one I lived in when I entered college.

I'm not so sure that I appreciate teachers who push the envelope trying to produce the sorts of degenerate thought provocation that students might run into while living in a crazy world.

An English teacher is being closely monitored at Kingswood Regional High School after administrators said she assigned an inappropriate essay topic to her students.

Jack Robertson, superintendent of the Governor Wentworth Regional School District, said the teacher asked students to respond to the question: "If you knocked your brother down, would you urinate in his mouth?"

The question was posed as part of creative writing assignment to a class of about 12 or 13 seniors. Robertson said the question was designed to help motivate students to improve their writing, but he said the teacher lacked good judgment in assigning the question.
The teacher is now having her assignments monitored by a supervisor.

h/t Right Nation

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Powerless North

If you Michiganders have ever experienced the feeling that the political clout in your state is heavily weighted toward southeast Michigan, well, just look at Michigan's district maps. If I were to drop a political marble here in Oscoda County it would start with a creeping southward roll and pick up speed its entire journey until it plunked neatly into the waters of the Detroit River, pulling ever farther to the left the more southward it traveled.

Of Michigan's 110 state House districts, 23 are located in Wayne County, 14 more are either all or in part in Oakland County, and nine more are all or in part of Macomb County. For those keeping record, that is a little less than 42% of Michigan's house districts.

Things are even worse in the Michigan Senate where its three most populous counties provide anchor for all or part of 16 of the state's 38 total Senate districts. That is a little over 42%.

For a bunch of old white guys the Founding Fathers, despite having very slow internet connections, were reasonably astute. When the different colonies were discussing the formation of a new country, each colony greedily protected its own best interests. Heavily populated states demanded power based on total suffrage. Smaller states threatened to spurn the new country if they would only be joining a country in which they would be politically dominated by larger states. Thus was born the "Great Compromise."

However, unlike our nation's Congress, the Michigan legislature was designed with no encumbrance of balancing out the raw powers of large populations with areas politically weakened by small populations, even though some of the sparsely populated areas are much larger.

Let us look at it another way.

Trace a line from the southern border of Iosco Country on Lake Huron all the way across the Lower Peninsula to the southern county line of Manistee County on Lake Michigan. Now, cross out all areas north of that line including the entire Upper Peninsula. Then cross out the counties of Lake, Osceola, Mecosta, Clare, Gladwin and Midland Counties. That entire crossed out area is divided up into four separate Michigan senate districts--exactly half the number of senate districts that are neatly tucked inside Wayne County. In effect, the land area of 614 square miles in Wayne County has twice as much representation as areas that cover over 30,000 square miles of landscape from Mid-Michigan, throughout Northern Michigan, and including the entire Upper Peninsula.

For the record, I have no philosophical problem with there being more power in Detroit and the immediately surrounding area. It would be patently unfair for an area with such a disproportionately large population to be underrepresented in affairs that affect populations. And, frankly, I feel there has been no short changing here. The pain I feel is in the duplicate layering of power in both chambers of the legislature that fails to recognize the importance of land mass and resources. It is this duplication of power in both chambers that creates an undue disproportion. When legislation is considered that affects land and leisure and resources, why should Wayne County and its surrounding counties be able to trump all the wants and desires of those who literally live on and manage the majority of the lands?

Of course, like Mom used to tell me, we have what we have, and we have to play with the cards we are dealt. (No, that couldn't have been Mom--she never approved of cards. It must have been Grandma.)

Anyway, as a whining northerner, I was just kind of wondering if anyone else had noticed.

cross posted at Right Michigan

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cloudy Michigan

The Bay City Times has a brief article on line today that laments Michigan still being behind in the installation portion of the solar energy craze.

Imagine that.

I was going to do a lengthy blog post on this but discovered that The Blogprof has already got it covered.

He asks:

I've asked this many times before in this blog, but shouldn't media writers that are assigned to technology issues have a simple modicum of competence in the field?
Why? Competence is not a requirement in the furtherance of a narrative.

Identity Politics 101

Jimmy Carter accuses conservatives of racism for resisting much of what Barack Obama supports.

"That racism inclination still exists, and I think it's bubbled up to the surface because of belief among many white people -- not just in the South but around the country -- that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It's an abominable circumstance, and it grieves me and concerns me very deeply."
There are few charges that can be made against anyone these days that are more personally condemnable than that of being a racist. It is the new leprosy.

It is a huge mistake for Democrats to accuse conservatives of being racists for several reasons. First of all, while it may be true in some instances, by and large the resistance to Obama's policies is due to disagreements on principle. The same people that dislike Obama's governance are just as resistant to the ideas of Noseholes Waxman and Snakeskin Pelosi. When an accusation of racism is charged it is only interpretable by the person against whom the charge is made. If it is true the racist cares little about the accusation. If it is false it exposes the accuser of being full of crap.

Secondly, racism is a charge that needs to be reserved for racists. Ugly words with ugly meanings must remain ugly or they soon lose their meaning. The term sexual predator or sexual deviant used to mean something and with it came the proper revulsion. Now, in selected locations around the country, these labels can be applied to pre-teens for showing the poor judgment of spanking members of the opposite sex on the bottom, or indiscriminately showered on lacrosse players before trial who stand accused of rape without a shred of proof.

When terminology is allowed to rot or erode the meaning and purpose of language disassembles with it. People who hate racism need the word racist to mean something other than 'political opponent.'

Finally, identity politics is a powerful tool that is being used here to bludgeon opponents of Barack Obama into shutting up. Racism is a charge that is so ugly that most people will take a step back when the insult is thrown. They step back not because the charge is true but rather they want so diligently to be unattached to such an ugly accusation. This is a tactic that can only be successful against non-racists. Racists care little about such accusations and will keep on protesting. Non-racists who continue to resist must do so under a shroud of undeserved condemnation. No wonder it works so often.

Thankfully most people have stopped long ago worrying about the accusations of a man quite universally recognized as our worst ex-President.

Monday, September 14, 2009

So, Which is it?

The BBC reports today that three Islamic plotters who intended to down several passenger jets between the UK and North America in a spectacular massacre that would rival that of 9/11, have been given life terms.

Airline plot trio get life terms

Three men who plotted to blow up liquid bombs on flights from the UK to North America have been jailed for life, with minimum terms of up to 40 years.

Ringleader Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 28, was jailed for at least 40 years.

Plot "quartermaster" Assad Sarwar, 29, must serve at least 36 years, while Tanvir Hussain, 28, was jailed for at least 32 years at Woolwich Crown Court.
A fourth man, Umar Islam, 31, convicted of the more general conspiracy to murder charge, was also given a life sentence and will serve a minimum of 22 years in prison.
A life sentence is not a minimum of 32 years or 36 years or even 40 years regardless of what the government tells us it is. A life sentence should mean, by definition, that the sentenced perpetrator would be ultimately hauled out of prison as cold as a mackerel however long it takes to reach room temperature.

It was not long ago that the convicted Lockerbie bomber, also sentenced to multiple life terms, was released early by Scottish authorities on compassionate grounds. The bomber reportedly has advancing stages of colon cancer.

It seems disingenuous to me that the public should be falsely pacified with statements assuring that evildoers will spend the rest of their lives behind bars when, the truth be told, a terrorist could be fully capable of bombing something else at the comfortable old age of 60 (or 53 in Islam's case) after being released having served the minimum sentence.

Fine, sentence these murders to 40,36 and 32 years. Just don't tell me it is a life sentence.

Kanye West Don't Like White Entertainers

h/t Michelle Malkin

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Free Press/AP Running Interference For Obama/Democrats

Up until a week a go Joe Wilson was a substantially anonymous member of the South Carolina delegation to the US House of Representatives. That anonymity lasted about five seconds after he called out "You lie!" from the floor during a speech by President Obama trying to sell his massive socialist takeover of the health care industry.

"You lie!"

I have said that I think there are better places for outbursts like this to occur, but there is no questioning that his questionable antics have gathered much fruit. His outburst, while breaching decorum, is hardly unprecedented unless you look at what was said through the magnifying lens of minutia.

The Detroit Free Press has a headline today titled Outburst in speech may be a 1st in U.S. Wow. Really?

Fred Beuttler, deputy historian at the House of Representatives, called the Wilson incident "highly unusual, if not unique."

"Occasionally, members of the opposing party have been known to boo and jeer as expressions of dissent on a specific point," Beuttler said. But before Wednesday, he says, "expressions of individual opposition of members to a president's speech had not been recorded."
My emphasis. So, the fact that it was a one member outburst make it unique?
Some have compared Wilson's outburst to those that occur routinely in Britain's House of Commons, when the prime minister is answering questions. But one political analyst says this is vastly different because the prime minister isn't the head of state.

"We expect a certain amount of deference to the president in the same way as we would for the queen," said Steven Cohen, professor of public administration at Columbia University.
Unless, of course, it is a whole pack of outbursting Democrats booing the bejeebus out of a President's assertion during a speech that Social Security will face insolvency if something is not done soon.
To another political analyst, it's the nature of the accusation -- an elected official calling the president a liar -- that is not only a serious breach (accusations of lying are forbidden under House rules) but also extremely rare in politics.

"Accusing someone of lying is impugning their integrity," said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, an expert on political communication at the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.
So, an organized boo and hiss session perpetrated by Democrats when a Republican president is standing behind the podium is not specifically calling the President a liar, and is therefor a lot different and more forgivable than a solitary member momentarily losing his composure and yelling out "You lie!"

Thanks. I'm glad we got that cleared up.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Two Words

Central Michigan University!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Abortion Protester Shot Dead

Now that abortion protester James Pouillon has been shot dead outside of a Michigan school this morning, I wonder how long it will be before Gloria Steinem, Nancy Pelosi, and Rosie O'Donnell are blamed.

Colbry said the grievances were not known in detail, but that the killing of Mr. Puillon was related to the latter’s anti-abortion protest.
Why would I wonder such a thing?

When late term abortionist Doctor George Tiller was stalked and killed in the lobby of his church earlier this year, it did not take long for the news to spread around the world.

It was as if Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh had taken out a contract on Tiller's head. They were as much to blame for the killing as was the shooter himself according to the blatherings on the Huffington Post, Democratic Underground, and the Daily Kos.

For the record, though I am pro-life, I did not defend Tiller for his actions and support him being punished to the fullest extent allowable. Murder is Murder.

This nut and the nut that killed Tiller are two peas in the same pod. I've been consistent. Will the same be true of the left and the media? Will this even make the newscasts?


Update: The Blog Prof is all over this!

Late to the Joe Wilson Party

It is difficult for me to get very exercised over the Joe Wilson outburst during President Obama's speech on health care the other night.

"You lie!" is not actually a very novel accusation to make in Washington politics these days. That same accusation, or forms of it, has been a great seller when emblazoned on political paraphernalia. T-shirts, coffee mugs, banners, name it and the words "Bush lied!" have been printed on it.

So, we know that it isn't the words chosen that pushed this incident onto the front pages of newspapers across the country or dominated the political airwaves.

Heckling, while I feel it is not appropriate in the chambers of Congress, is far from unprecedented. The 2005 State of the Union address by President Bush was roundly booed by many democratic members of Congress when he discussed the future insolvency of Social Security during the speech. That heckling too was a major point of political discussion over the days following the address, but I do not recall any one member of Congress being singled out for doing the booing. I guess there is safety in numbers when it comes to booing presidential speeches. I also do not recall any member of Congress apologizing for losing it at that time while in those hallowed halls.

Wilson, however, quickly apologized for losing control during the speech. This is good, though not good enough for those who cannot remember 2005 and have forgotten about all those political t-shirts they have neatly folded in the dresser at home. For the record, Wilson is not backing down necessarily from what he said, but for his chosen venue.

How about this solution...from now on politicians can call each other names, assassinate each other's character, can market the accusations, and can even try to make political points when the other side does the same thing while gasping at the outrage.

Just dot't expect people that can remember more than a couple years back to get all that bent out of shape over it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Who The People?

There never seems to be an end to the lengths that politicians will travel to gather more power unto government in the name of "the people."

Seriously, what facet of our lives is not currently regulated by our benevolent overseers in service to someone else's vision of who "the people" are?

If you can grow it, eat it, smoke it, smell it, wear it, drive it, trade it, sell it, raise it, breathe it, buy it, earn it, rent it, own it, catch it, or burn it, you can bet there is a regulator of "the people" in service to "the people" hired to make certain "the people" aren't being endangered, endangering another member of "the people," or that is available to work behind the counter so that "the people" know where to pay the proper fees. (As we all know, these layers of bureaucracy must be financed by someone, and "the people" seem like good candidates.)

Water may become the next "it," not because water usage is currently unregulated here in Michigan, but rather because legislators have found another area in our lives in which we still maintain a certain amount of individual control.

[...] State Representative Dan Scripps (D-Leland) laid out his vision for protecting all of Michigan's waters, including lakes, rivers, streams and groundwater, by affirming they should be clearly defined as a public resource, giving them the same protections against privatization as the Great Lakes and all surface water.
That's right folks. My tasty tap water, drawn from a sixty foot well directly underneath my home, should be the providence of Dan Scripps, at least according to Dan Scripps.
"We're surrounded by 20 percent of the world's fresh water, and with that blessing comes an incredible responsibility," Scripps said. "We must act as responsible stewards of our waters and preserve our lakes, rivers and beaches for future generations. Our waters are not only part of our heritage, but a key part of creating and protecting thousands of jobs across Northwest Michigan and a cornerstone of Michigan's tourism industry."
Obviously the only reasonable way to accomplish responsible stewardship is to put Dan Scripps and company in charge. We homeowners and property owners would never practice enough self restraint to take care of our own water. We need Dan Scripps!
Scripps will introduce legislation this week to clarify that Michigan's waters are subject to the public trust, placing them under the shared ownership of the people of Michigan for the benefit of present and future generations.

"This legislation will erase any doubt that the waters of Michigan belong to the citizens of Michigan," Scripps said, "and that Michigan citizens must continue to have a say in protecting this resource."
That is unless a Michigan citizen such as myself might actually want to have an individual say in the water underneath my own land, the waters that travel through my property, or any mud puddles that might happen to form out back after a warm summer rain.

Clearly Scripps is talking about a different kind of citizen, you know, the kind that has a legislative office down in Lansing.
[...]"Our state relies on healthy waters to sustain jobs in our three largest industries," Scripps said. "We need to protect these jobs as we work to pull Michigan out of this economic slump. But this plan is about more than that. The Great Lakes are part of what makes us who we are here in Michigan. They're a defining part of our state – Michigan's crown jewels – and that's a history and legacy we must fight to preserve."
No kidding, Einstein.

I'm not certain if Dan Scripps has a legislative map of Michigan, but if he does it might help to look at the coagulation of power in the heavily populated areas of Michigan. We hicks have little power politically, but what we do have is land and resources--lots of both. Why would a northern legislator want to cede local and individual control of water (a resource that historically the legislature has no reason to even claim) largely to urban legislators who have performed so horribly when attempting to govern any facet of public or private life in their own back yards? Sure, lets put them in charge.

Furthermore, Scripps talks as if Michigan's current laws leave Michigan waters completely unprotected. If you listen to him long enough you might even become convinced that individuals interested in personal property rights are in league with Simon Bar Sinister to destroy the Earth. (After reading Scripps' enlightened speech I nearly turned myself into the authorities for running too much rinse water.)

It is becoming increasingly difficult to find any area in our own private lives where the government has not shoved its big fat bulbous nose, all ostensibly in service to "the people" whose private lives they have invaded. However, whenever I try to find out who any of these people are that Scripps says "must continue to have a say" as it relates to any issue, all I ever get is a hopeless shrug and a slight nod toward the Capitols.

So, enjoy that tall glass of cool and refreshing tap water! It might not taste quite as good once "the people" begin running it through a meter.

cross posted at Right Michigan

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

This Day in Northern Michigan History

Sixty five years ago today, the American statesman known as the "Old Roman" died at his ranch near Fairview, Michigan.

"Truth to tell, Washington has become the universal mecca of human freaks."
Truth be told, things have not changed a lot since James Alexander Reed, a three term US Senator and two time Democratic candidate for the Presidency, spoke those famous words.

In many ways Reed was a visionary. He was adamantly critical of the KKK, anti-Semites, Hitler, prohibitioners, anti-trade legislators, socialists, corrupt politicians, and is largely recognized as being instrumental in Woodrow Wilson's inability to get the US to join the League of Nations. (Mom would tell you that he slipped up on that whole suffrage thing, though.)

Reed spoke his mind and was not afraid to get into a verbal brawl.
"No man can amount to anything in this world when he is afraid that somebody else will take his bread and butter away from him. Let him think for himself instead of taking temporary and uninformed opinion, let him have convictions of his own and follow them in spite of every man in the country if necessary."
Something tells me that this country could use a few more Old Romans these days in place of some of today's 'human freaks' that fully intend to perpetually call Washington home.


The White House has denied local Standish officials the opportunity to fully assess the potential dangers of relocating Islamic terrorists to a soon to be closed maximum security facility in Standish.

In a letter to Rep. Pete Hoekstra who had hoped to lead a delegation of local officials to Guantanamo, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that

"[...] at this stage it may be premature to have local officials visit until a final decision has been made. As you know, the President's task force is seriously reviewing a number of options, including Standish, for relocating detainees in an effort to close Guantanamo. When we have a clear idea of where the detainees will be relocated, we will be sure to engage state and local officials and their representatives in Congress."
In other words, the locals will not be briefed on what the federal government has gotten them into until after the decision has already been made.

This is not the transparency I knew.

Monday, September 07, 2009


That is the sum total of experience that Ron Bloom has in engineering and manufacturing and practical business administration. Yet, he is Barack Obama's choice for Manufacturing Czar, a position beyond the reach of congressional oversight, and one that could probably use at least some 'toe in the water' expereince when it comes to creating policies that would benefit industries historically dependent on engineering, manufacturing and business administration.

Zero is not a lot.

What Ron Bloom does bring to the table are many years of labor union representation and years of investment banking. I think it is safe to say that Ron Bloom is no idiot. I think it is not safe to say that Ron Bloom has the necessary point of view to envision the challenges that automobile manufacturers and other struggling businesses have today or the predicated willingness to allow the them to either independently adapt to stressful economic conditions or fail. That is not how he has been trained and it is not why he was hired.

If Ron Bloom was selected as manufacturing czar for the experience he does have, I think that Barack Obama believes he has steered the US government around a philosophical corner that no longer needs private manufacturing as a stand alone and independent benefit to our economy. What he sees is that manufacturing in general, and the automotive industry in particular, are simply pieces of equipment to be used in helping orchestrate our economy's social goals from the Oval Office.

Barack Obama has stated many times that he has no desire to run a car company. Yet every move he makes that might impact the auto industry is a move that belies his comments.

Ron Bloom, labor negotiator and investment banker, help to prove the point.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

That's Not Entertainment

"It's false advertising. You can't call this entertainment. Is it entertainment if you lose your paycheck every week?"
No, I suppose not. I don't think its very entertaining to shoot 104 at the golf club either, but people keep doing it.

Mario Parise has a potential solution for his problem though, or at least a symptom (money loss) of his real problem (stupidity.) He is suing the Motor City Casino for $647,000 because he is too big an idiot to take responsibility for his own actions.

I admit it, I occasionally like a little casino action. In my relative inexperience I have learned a thing or two. One, it ain't fun to lose. Two, when you are losing get the heck out. Apparently Parise, a guy who has a lot more experience than I do at gambling, has only figured out the first of those two lessons.

A guy like Parise should only gamble at games where there is no loser. When he finds a casino that hosts such a game I hope he gives me a call.

Friday, September 04, 2009

The New Gray

I hate to reduce it to the obvious, but men have penises and women have vaginas. I'm not in charge of all of this stuff, mind you, but I did grow up in the country and did sit through several weeks of sex education in the 6th grade. Call me wise beyond my years.

In Britain, however, things operate a bit differently, particularly when it involves prisoners, socialized medicine, and leftist attitudes on health and safety.

From the Daily Mail:

A transsexual prisoner has won a move to a women's prison after a High Court judge ruled his human rights had been breached in a landmark £50,000 legal aid case.

The 27-year-old prisoner, who is serving life for manslaughter and an attempted rape committed while he was legally defined as a man, was described by his lawyer as 'a woman trapped inside a man's body'.

Today, Deputy Judge David Elvin QC, quashed Justice Secretary Jack Straw's decision to continue detaining the prisoner, known only as 'A', in a male prison.

He was told that steps were already being put in place to transfer A to a female prison 'as soon as possible'.

The move will pave the way for 'A' to have the operation to fully change from a woman to a man. He has to live openly as a woman for two years before having the procedure.

A's health authority will have to foot the £8,000 bill for his sex change operation.
Ms Kaufmann told how A had his womanhood recognised by law and his birth certificate had been amended.

Hair on A's face and legs had been permanently removed by laser and he had developed breasts after hormone treatment.

But he was forbidden from wearing skirts or blouses, or more than 'subtle' make-up, at the men's prison where he was being held on a 'vulnerable prisoners' wing.

To complete her change to full womanhood, she required gender reassignment surgery, but had been told he could not have it while he remained in a men's prison.
The obvious best solution then is to transfer the violent rapist into a women's prison where he can put in the necessary time before the taxpayers reassign his current gender to reflect that which is already reflected on her birth certificate. To do otherwise would be to waste all the money already spent on surgeries and the ongoing hormone treatments.

Gender has become the new gray area.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Another Obama Gaffe in Foreign Policy

What gives with this guy? Is there a third world tinpot dictator that Obama will not coddle?

The US should be thrilled that we have a stable democratic government in Central America governed by the rule of law. The history of Latin America has not always been so good when it comes to stability and liberty. Numerous tinpot dictators have governed many of these war torn countries for decades. Misery is the human condition in much of Latin America. Is that what we want?

Honduras is trying to be different and most of its leaders and its people are tired of war and poverty and ineffective dictatorships. It has adopted a constitution that it takes seriously. The constitution that it has ratified contains checks and balances that strive to keep the country from becoming ruled by perpetual power hungry dictators. One of its articles restricts a president from running for more than one term. It also contains provisions that allow the president to be removed from office if he tries to change the rules that keep him from running for an additional term. Shockingly, it is even in their constitution that the Supreme Court of the country can instruct the Army to kick the constitution-bucking dictator wannabe off his throne if he attempts to do so.

This is exactly what happened in Honduras. Yet, our Dear Leader is firmly behind the ousted president even though the political elements within the country followed the rule of law exactly as it was supposed to. For a genius lawyer like Mr. Obama, you would have thought that he could have figured this out all on his own. You might even think that Obama would appreciate a fledgling democracy on its flank actually trying to remain a stable democracy.

Nah...that ain't good enough for a guy who is showing a dangerous habit of pandering to some of the world's most despicable dictator thugs. As punishment for following the rule of law our limp wristed jenny of a president is going to withhold millions of dollars of foreign aid to Honduras.

Honduras should tell the United States of America to kiss its butt. Maybe it can lean on Columbia for support in a soon to be formed organization of democracies spurned by The Obama in appeasement of the region's Marxist bullies. Of course, Obama would scoff at the butt kissing invitation. We would only do such a thing if the thug was once again back at the helm.

Mike Hendrix has more.

New Age Record

At 89 years, 10 months and three days, my Father became the oldest sucker to ever successfully complete the zipline ride at Camp Barakel. I believe he left a few fingernails in the wooden railing at the top.

For the record, I manned up and took the most tattered of the ropes and was voluntarily strapped to the thinnest looking cable. The ladies at the bottom thought they heard me screaming like a baby all the way down.

I'm certain it was the wind.

New (old) Computer

Thankfully I received my new computer today. It isn't a speed demon by today's standards but it is a huge step forward from the primary machine that I bought long enough ago that it came equipped with Windows Me.

It is taking some time to get all the software and files moved around like I want them, but I should be back to a more normal blogging schedule in the next couple of days.

You've been warned.

That's "Seeking Pleasant Peninsulas" to You Pal!

An advertisement produced by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) last year created such an outrage that it resulted in a bill being introduced by State Rep. Michael Lahti (D-Hancock) that was passed recently by a whopping 106-0 margin.

106-0. This is the kind of lopsided tally we might expect to see bureaucrats RSVP for a Capitol lawn kegger, not on legislation.

The outrage driven bill was not drawn to recoup millions of dollars wasted by the MEDC because, let's be honest, that sort of blatant inefficiency is fully expected from state departments and agencies and would never receive such lopsided support in a vote.

It wasn't that the MEDC has been in part funded by a lot of dollars that were originally taken from the tobacco companies for usage to better the health of Michiganders. No, that particular cash cow was always little more than a pickpocket's scam to begin with and everyone knows it.

It wasn't even that the MEDC was already out of this year's allotment of tax breaks which it uses to promote business in Michigan. What department in Michigan, obviously other than Mr. Mulhern's, has not already rifled through this year's allotment of resources? No, none of those slight discomforts would ever rally the troops into such a unanimous single-minded frenzy.

What raised the dander of Bill Lahti and every Michigan state representative so universally was an MEDC advertisement promoting state tourism that lopped off the Upper Peninsula. Whether the mistake was the result of an accident or intentional, the advertisement was later fixed, though too late to apply the brakes to the wheels of legislative good intentions.

Thankfully, due to Mr. Lahti's efforts and House Bill 4995, it is now against the law for a Michigan department or agency to leave off either peninsula in an 'illustration, image, or depiction of the state of Michigan' in 'documents produced by this state for distribution to any member of the public, including, but not limited to, maps, forms, brochures, pamphlets, and commemorative items, and also applies to digital images made available over the internet by any state department or agency.'

One has to wonder at the effectiveness of a bill that is principally designed to help disrupt the inadvertent. A recent study reveals that about half of American school children cannot locate their own belly button on a map of themselves. Should we so disturbed by a person's geographical ignorance as to outlaw it?

Now, don't get me wrong, I think it would either be blockheadedly stupid or simply mean spirited to intentionally try and pass off the state of Michigan as having only half of its peninsulas, particularly in an effort to promote tourism. In fact, I'm so on board with this sentiment that I think we should change the state motto to "If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you, but do not forget the other equally pleasant peninsula either just to your north or your south. Or else."

If some bureaucrat intentionally decided that he or she wanted to represent Michigan in a pamphlet as everything below the bridge, I suppose this bill would stop that pencil pusher right in his tracks. Off with his head and all that. If said pencil pusher, however, makes a simple mistake in his design or mistakenly overlooks a printer's oversight, I wonder how much hard time the guy should expect to spend busting rocks to be properly reeducated. I can just hear it now..."Janelle, did you draw this? It's against the law!"

As Yooper Steez observes in his excellent regional blog:

To think that 1/3 of the land is left off of the Michigan map is absurd. Not to mention that the Upper Peninsula has given the State of Michigan two National Parks, access to Lake Superior, Mackinac Island, the amazing Mackinac Bridge, the Soo Locks, and an incredible amount of natural resources with copper, iron ore, and wood products. And this is all left off of official state documents?

It’s kind of embarrassing that a bill has to be passed to represent the entire state of Michigan on state documents.
I agree that it is embarrassing that our state would ever produce a publication so errant. Will this bill correct bureaucratic ignorance or mistakes? If it does it will be the first bill ever passed to be successful at doing so.

Michigan is being led by a Canadian lawyer governor who was raised in California and educated among snooty New Englanders that cannot even pronounce garage correctly let alone 'eh. How shocking should it be that her state would accidentally miss all of Michigan north of Mackinaw City in an advertisement?

What this bill does, in essence, is make it illegal for a state agency to imply that "this is Michigan" while pointing to an incomplete state map. I remember a Channel 11 weatherman who would have had to spend half his life in jail had he been held to such a high standard. (Hint, he wasn't.)

Under this law, a partial map is still fine if it is drawn to intentionally indicate only a part of the state, that is if the 110th district map on Lahti's website is any indication. (Notably absent is everything outside of his district.)

Also acceptable are fancily designed logos where Michigan is reduced to a few squiggly lines such as the current MEDC logo, though I'm not so certain the UP should be thrilled with being illustrated as a lumpy string of green spaghetti.

Acceptable too is no logo at all, you know, just in case the artist is an Ohio public school graduate and only draws Crayola stick figures.

This bill, I'm afraid, is just another well intentioned attempt to legislate performance that will have the same effect as outlawing handwritten number 7s with those irritating little horizontal lines half way up, but at least the time spent on this bill was not wasted on trying to do banal things such as balancing the budget or reducing regulatory red tape on job creating businesses. And, while we are at it, why don't we outlaw the that itching, burning, and scratching of Athlete's Foot?

A few weeks ago I watched a disappointingly bad movie called "The Deadliest Sea." It was based on a true story that helped serve as an inspiration for the creators of "The Deadliest Catch." I like The Deadliest Catch. Sure, the language gets a bit salty at times, but who am I to judge the occasional bleeping of a guy that just got whacked upside the head with a heavy iron hook?

Early in the movie it was revealed that the young hero had cut his seafaring teeth on his father's marina on Mackinac Island in Lake Michigan. Of course, Mackinac was pronounced Mack-in-ack in the movie, and the island is actually located in Lake Huron.

Movie producers and directors, advertising copywriters and graphic artists, school children and the rest of the ignorant among us, are all fully within the law when they either intentionally or accidentally butcher our state's geography.

In Michigan, however, government employees are held to a much higher standard. Our law says so.

Cross posted at Right Michigan

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Obtuse Among Us

We can always count upon three distinct parasitic constituencies to plead for ever more tax dollars regardless of how crippled an economy becomes. It never matters how often taxation is proven to be an economy killer, or how often tax increases are shown to lower tax revenues for these obnoxious panhandlers are in our faces pleading for another billion dollars or two.

Predictably stepping forward today to plead for huge tax increases on Michigan taxpayers were the Michigan League for Human Services, the Michigan Education Association and Progress Michigan. Presumably because driving more and more businesses and taxpayers out of state is the only possible solution to revenue shortfalls.

Will these people never learn anything about the tax repercussions of job loss? Will that little low energy light bulb ever go off in their heads when it comes to understanding the results of punishing successful business owners and taxpayers? What painfully obvious lesson is it that these people keep missing as they watch load after load of rental vans filled with the possessions of soon to be former Michiganders hit the highway for southern climes?

The poverty pimps, big education, and socialist unions want the rest of us to cough up more taxes. I am beginning to believe that we fully deserve the financial crisis we are in for coddling these idiots for as long as we have.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Someone Wants More Gas Pump Labels

When was the last time you pulled up to a gas pump and studied all the labels, seals, signs, and warnings affixed upon them? Well, remember your reading glasses the next time you are cruising main street because another advocacy group is wanting an additional consumer message placed on gas pumps.

Jeff Kart in the Bay City Times reports:

Despite what you may think, the United States gets most of its oil from Canada.

So you may see "Made in Canada" stickers on gas pumps some day if a U.S. ethanol industry group has its way.

Growth Energy, the same group pushing for a higher ethanol-gasoline blend, is pushing federal lawmakers to require filling stations to inform customers where their fuel comes from, according to Reuters.

The idea is to increase awareness about how much money is spent on oil from overseas (and maybe encourage more people to use U.S.-made ethanol).
I should not be surprised that Gen. Wesley Clarke, whose major accomplishment up until losing his bid for the presidency was to accidentally bomb a Chinese consulate, is a major proponent of the idea.

This is just another silly idea promoted by people afraid they aren't getting a large enough piece of the government pie.

The ethanol industry in this country would already be belly up if it weren't for the huge direct subsidies that it receives from government and the protective trade policies already in place that guarantees a domestic market for inefficient corn ethanol. The taxpayers are getting slaughtered on what is proven to be an ineffective means of creating energy.

It would be better if these gas pumps had labels on them that indicated exactly how much of every gasoline dollar goes toward direct taxes, taxes on the reseller, and additional costs incurred due to government regulation. For some reason I don't see that happening.