25 July 2009

"Capital Proliferation Cannot Be Stopped."

Behold the glory of Yu Wan Mei Amalgamated Salvage Fisheries And Polymer Injection Corp.
I liked "Miscellaneous Flavor Paste" the best. But it's all good. Clicky linky and kill five minutes if you've got nothing else to do.

19 July 2009

Konservatives Krown Klinton

On principle I'm not going to link to the cesspit of stoopidity that is FreeRepublic.com in the off chance this is a publicity stunt to boost their hitcount. Nevertheless, it would appear that a Freep founder, Jim Robinson, has decided to overthrow our government with the help of his herd of freeptards:
Therefore, We the People of America choose to exercise our right to throw off and alter the abusive government by peacefully recalling and removing from office the President of the United States, the Vice President of the United States and all U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives effective immediately. An interim provisional Chief Executive and congressional representatives will be established as follows: The Secretary of State shall immediately assume the office of interim Chief Executive. The Chief Executive shall appoint and the interim Senate shall confirm an interim Vice President.
An immediate election shall be held within each state legislature to appoint two interim senators to represent each sovereign state. A special election shall be held by all states within 30 days to elect interim members of the House of Representatives. Elections for regular government offices shall be conducted in November, 2010 as previously scheduled, except that elections will be held for all elective offices, including President, Vice President and all U.S. Representatives. U.S. Senators will be elected per class schedule by the various state legislatures.
[emphasis added for hilarity.]
The Free Republic now wants Hilary Clinton to be POTUS? Bwahahahaha!
Perhaps FreeRepublic should amend their slogan "Defending Our Constitution" by adding the words, "By Ignoring It."
But the most important question is this: Will Jim Robinson still get his Social Security Disability check after he dismantles the existing government that is abusing him so badly? What about his socialized VA healthcare?

14 July 2009

Life imitates the crustybastard.

Interesting post over at Daily Dish by Conor Clarke titled What's the Point of Diversity on the Supreme Court? Clarke writes, "Yesterday's New York Times op-ed page published a bunch of possible confirmation questions for Sonia Sotomayor. Here's one from blogger and law professor Ann Althouse:
If a diverse array of justices is desirable, should we not be concerned that if you are confirmed, six out of the nine justices will be Roman Catholics, or is it somehow wrong to start paying attention to the extreme overrepresentation of Catholicism on the court at the moment when we have our first Hispanic nominee?
...As I understand it, her point isn't 'let's get rid of the damn Catholics.' The point of the question is: 'Why do we treat racial diversity as different — and potentially more desirable — than other kinds of diversity?' So, why do we?"
This conversation reminded me of something I posted on June 1:
...the current Supreme Court is 56% Catholic. If Sotomayor is confirmed, it will become 67% Catholic. That's an impressive accomplishment for any minority group...Hell, the percentages wouldn't particularly bother me except that the Catholic justices have shown such enthusiasm for ruling in ways that are clearly informed by the teachings of their faith over the terms and principles of the Constitution, the law, or the interests of justice.
Anyway, can we just quit pretending that one's identity and background don't inform one's decision-making, or if they do, that's always improper or off-limits? The fact that identity and background are relevant to deciding cases is precisely the reason why trial judges preside over hours and hours of voir dire where prospective jurors are questioned about their identities and backgrounds. The dirty little secret of voir dire? Jurors aren't questioned to exclude those who are biased — they're questioned to ensure that the panel is biased favorably.
So as to the SCOTUS nomination, I have no problem with interrogating a Catholic judicial nominee regarding his or her view of the RCC's penchant for church-state entanglements, his or her view of the Church's intervention in the American political process, and how he or she might address threats of excommunication based on a legal act or statement, etc.
That's not a religious test, it's a reasonable and sensible inquiry into how the nominee regards the interference of a foreign government, or whether a Catholic nominee is even capable of viewing his or her Church that way.

Revenge is catchy.

04 July 2009

Checkpoints, again.

Three sobriety checkpoints, 15 hours total, at least 30 cops pulling down overtime pay to arrest and search, without probable cause, all the occupants of 163 vehicles.
Three drivers were arrested for DUI, representing 1.8% success, or 1 arrest every 5 hours — during the kickoff of a holiday weekend characterized as much by alcohol consumption as fireworks. Honestly, do those figures even remotely indicate something like a crime epidemic justifying a suspension of all these people's Constitutional protections?
Yeah, I know that SCOTUS has settled this issue. Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote the 6-3 opinion in Michigan State Police v. Sitz, 496 U.S. 444 (1990). Here's the majority's argument:
1. The Fourth Amendment only protects citizens against unreasonable searches & seizures.
2. A sobriety checkpoint is indeed a seizure (i.e. arrest, in the sense of a "stop") and a search.
3. This search & seizure is not unreasonable because discovering drunk drivers constitutes a special need beyond the ordinary need for law enforcement.
4. The government's (law enforcement's) special need must be balanced against the citizen's expectation of privacy to determine whether it is practical to require a warrant or individualized suspicion.
5. The magnitude of the drunk driving problem is indisputable because the media reports that the slaughter is akin to battlefield-type levels.
6. Sobriety checkpoints are only slightly intrusive and citizens are unlikely to be frightened or annoyed by this kind of government intrusion.
7. We, as judges, are not the appropriate parties to determine what degree of success is adequate success justifying continuation of checkpoints — other authorities should decide that.
8. Sobriety checkpoints generally discover that 1- 1.5% of all drivers seized & searched at checkpoints are under the influence. In a different case, we decided it was okay that illegal alien checkpoints were successful .12% of the time.
9. Therefore, sobriety checkpoints are reasonable and do not offend the Fourth Amendment protection against random, warrantless, suspicionless search & seizure.
It was out of utter exasperation regarding their oppressive and intrusive government that the Founding Fathers committed treason against England to establish a new nation predicated on a restrained government in service of free citizens who were not mere subjects of a crown. So although Rehnquist is regarded as the godfather of the modern "judicial conservative," there really isn't a goddam thing about this argument that could remotely be considered "conservative."
A genuinely conservative judge would demand the government produce a overwhelming justification for encroaching on a citizen's life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. A genuine conservative would presume that the government's violation of a citizen's Constitutional rights requires little short of a national emergency.
The Founding Fathers would have lined up to kick Rehnquist squarely in the balls for making that kind of "if the state wants to, it must be okay" argument.
As an American I don't even know how to call this kind of groveling toward authority — but it sure as shit ain't "conservative" in the sense of "traditional." I do know this: the violence that Chief Justice Rehnquist, his protege Chief Justice John Roberts, and the rest of their self-styled "conservative" ilk have done, and will continue to do to our Constitution will not be undone in my lifetime, if ever.

03 July 2009

Happy Birthday America.

Sarah Palin is resigning.
Will Fox News hire her as Rachel Maddow antimatter? Because that would be delicious.

The Enzyte of its day.

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More radioactive quackery courtesy of the Oak Ridge Associated Universities Health Physics Historical Instrumentation Museum Collection. Prepare to be amazed.

01 July 2009

Do you feel safer?

"There's increasing recognition within the armed forces that ["Don't Ask, Don't Tell"] is a counterproductive strategy — y'know, we're spending large sums of money to kick highly qualified gays or lesbians out of our military, some of whom possess specialties like Arab-language capabilities that we desperately need. That doesn't make us more safe."
— Candidate Obama
So it's counterproductive, doesn't make America safer, he personally opposes it, he wants to overturn it...and yet it comes as absolutely no surprise that six months into Obama's presidency, Arab-speaking Lt. Choi was recommended for separation from the military under DADT.
275 servicememembers have been discharged under DADT in the 163 days since Obama took office — nearly 1.7 per day.
But the game isn't over. Pursuant to Chapter 37, 654.d(e)
Rule of Construction.
Nothing in subsection (b) shall be construed to require that a member of the armed forces be processed for separation from the armed forces when a determination is made in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense that
(1) the member engaged in conduct or made statements for the purpose of avoiding or terminating military service; and
(2) separation of the member would not be in the best interest of the armed forces.
[emphasis added]

Ball's still in Commander-in-Chief Obama's court, but one needn't be Jeane Dixon to correctly predict Obama will "fiercely advocate" for somebody else to take responsibility to fix the problem. (With, y'know...his full support.)

While it throws out 12,000 qualified but gay soldiers, the military replaces them with neo-Nazis, incompetents, and convicted criminals.

Yep, I feel safer.

KCPD chief defends checkpoints.

Money quote:
The federal and state governments are so confident in the need for sobriety checkpoints that they not only pay for the overtime of a minimum of 10 officers at each checkpoint, they also provide the police department equipment to use.
Shit the bed! Why does a planned checkpoint operation require paying overtime to a minimum of 10 officers?
Permit me to summarize Chief Corwin's argument (my comments parenthetically.)
1. 79% of traffic fatalities involve people driving under the influence.
(No citation, but careful parsing here. Chief Corwin doesn't say drivers were intoxicated, only "under the influence," which could mean nearly anything. Also no mention of how much influencing was by prescription, or what, if any, part the influence played in the fatality.)
2. Checkpoints are not a waste of resources because they're not using city money.
(They're a waste of federal and state money, which presumably arrives on a rainbow delivered by fairies riding unicorns).
3. Even if we wanted to use the money in another way we can't.
(Hey, we don't want to haul down all that sweet, sweet overtime — they're forcing us to take it!)
4. Checkpoints are great deterrents.
(No mention of how this supposedly works. However, elsewhere Chief Corwin reports that last year 49% of traffic fatalities involved drugs/alcohol. This year he says it's approaching 80%. If checkpoints actually deterred DWIs, shouldn't the percentage be decreasing?)
5. Checkpoints are educational.
(It's not like you're gonna learn in high school civics that the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments of the US Constitution do not apply at sobriety checkpoints.)
6. Checkpoints also make arrests, but that's not really important and we don't want to make these arrests.
(Checkpoints produce maybe 2 arrests per hour, which is almost certainly fewer than 10 officers performing roving patrols, acting on probable cause, could generate. There are also police operations called "wolfpacks" where officers are directed to ignore other calls and make DWI busts exclusively. Wolfpacks.)
7. As a police department we would be remiss to ignore the problem of drunk driving.
(Absolutely agreed. Why not do it the way you confront other crimes? Within the boundaries of the Constitution, in a manner that isn't designed to intentionally frighten and inconvenience innocent parties?)