Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I’ll be Back,I Promise

Crunch time on the Mine Project is eating up all my writing time. Here are a few quick takes on things that have caught my eye over the last couple of weeks

  • Since when is it news that Al Gore is a hypocrite? Isn't he the one who got rich off of tobaco farming until it became a political liability?
  • So Strom Thurmond's family owned slaves. Is this really shocking to anybody?
  • Message to Iraqi President Talabani: Before inviting Iran and Syria in to help solve your domestic difficulties, you might want to check with Lebanon and see how well it worked for them.
  • To all those who are crying since Don Williams resigned from the KNS: Give it a rest. He hasn't had a hit since Amanda anyway.Yes, I know it's a different Don WIlliams. To tell the truth, I'd much prefer the singer to the reality challenged rantings of the columnist. But he's found a home at Knox Views where I'm sure he'll be welcomed with open arms. The columnist, not the singer.
  • The Oscars rewarded Al Gore with two awards for his slide show "What I did on my 8 year temper tantrum after that weenie head George Bush stole my job." It's hard to blame Al for being peeved, though. Getting your hat handed to you by a "moron" like Dubya must be pretty embarrassing for the guy who invented the internet.
  • By the way, now that Al Gore and Michael Moore have Oscars for documentaries, how long will we have to wait before Keith Olbermann gets a Pulitzer?
  • Isn't it funny how liberals are against carbon abatement allowances for the US, but for them for themselves. What's that word again?
  • Why is it that on 24 Arab terrorists are always the pawns of European masterminds? Isn't that racist? I demand to see an Arab terrorist murdering innocent women and children on his own responsibility, as an autonomous member of the world community.

    It's only fair.
  • Sanjaya and Antonella are proof that looks triumph over talent, even at the top. Neither one should have made it to the final 24, much less past the first cut. And the guys might as well go home now. None of them come close to stacking up to Lakisha or Melinda.
  • The Knox County Commissioners have selected an ethics committee. And there was much rejoicing. yeah!
  • Could Tennessee's State Lawmakers as a group be proof positive that intelligent design isn't real? After all, would God really design such stupidity on purpose? I don't think so!
  • Speaking of stupidity, it looks like Scooter Libby might actually be convicted of lying to cover up for the fact that Dick Cheney did not out Valerie Plame. Accordingly, his sentence should be to not go to jail for 4-8 years. Or some such nonsense. By the way, wasn't it the Democrats who told us for the last 8 years or so that perjury wasn't really serious?
  • As for William Jefferson being given the chair of Homeland Security even though he's under indictment for accepting bribes, we should have known Pelosi wasn't serious about draining the swamp. Like most slimy reptilian carnivores, it's where she's most at home. Besides, it's un-PC to call it a swamp. It's a wetlands. And when have you ever known a Democrat to be in favor of draining a wetland?
  • David Geffen accuses the Clintons together and Hillary in particular of lying too easily and being too ambitious. Just in case you needed more proof that perception is not a prerequisite to produce movies.
  • Speaking of Hollywood idiocy, Leo the Cap said during the Oscars that Hollywood has always taken its social responsibilities seriously, which is why he'll be starring in the upcoming American Pie 6:The e Coli Strikes Back.And yes, there have been 5 American Pie movies. It's the Police Academy of the new millennium. Except not as funny. I never thought I'd be longing for the triumphant comeback of Bobcat Goldthwaite.
  • Joe Lieberman is toying with the idea of caucusing with the Republicans if the Democrats press forward with attempting to cut financing for the troops in Iraq. I'd just as soon he stay an Independent. Go with your convictions Joe. If you want to switch, do it. Don't make it a power play.
  • In the 60s and 70s, protest music was all about forcing change on the world. Now, we're just "waiting for the world to change." It's sadly pathetic isn't it? There's a reason why the protests are lead by old folks; they have more drive than the young ones.
  • I'm so tired of political hacks and morons on both sides of the Moebius aisle (looks like it has two sides but really only has one through a distortion of three dimensional reality that only politicians and professional journalists (Not you Michael) can master) that not blogging should have been a relief. Instead, the disgust built up inside befouling my mood until I had to vent it onto you, my loyal readers.

I feel much better now...

Posted by Rich
Flotsam and Jetsam • (2) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Death Certificates for Aborted Fetuses

Stacey Campfield has introduced legislation that requires abortion providers to file a death certificate within ten days of performing an abortion.

What a crock.

I'm strongly pro-life. I believe that life begins at conception, as do most folks familiar with science. I also pin the beginning of identity to conception, which most folks familiar with science do not. I say this because I can understand the motivations behind the bill.

It's still a crock.

You can't have a death certificate for a non-entity, and legally, that's what fetuses are. They have no identity until they are delivered. Now, if you want to argue whether topographic location should be the basis for legal identity, then we can have an interesting discussion. But this legislation is just pandering to a crowd. It has no chance of passing, little chance of even being seriously debated, and is virtually certain to increase the distance between the two sides.

So why introduce it?

As Michael Silence says, this is just pure and simple grandstanding.

Posted by Rich
Politics • (2) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

A Question in Profiling

A boy goes in to a shopping mall and proceeds to shoot and kill as many people as possible, before being killed by police.

Another boy duct tapes some sparklers together and throws them on somebody's lawn.

For $25,000 and a trip to Hawaii, pick which boy being called a domestic terrorist.

We don't know why Sulejmen Talovic decided to start shooting up the local mall, so it would be inappropriate to mention domestic terrorism, primarily because Talovic is a Muslim and you can't call Muslims terrorists, especially if they are because you might offend other Muslims who aren't terrorist, and who might express their injured feelings by kinapping and beheading a random bystander, and that kind of thing just gets in the way of diplomacy, doesn't it? Nick Lay, on the other hand, isn't a Muslim, so it's OK to throw the label of terrorist around in his case.

We've officially gone insane in this country. We can't call a guy who goes to a mall for the express purpose of killing as many people as he possibly can a terrorist; heck, we can't even identify him as a Muslim. The kid in question is my nephew, by the way. That's how I know that the "explosive device" in question was a bunch of sparklers.

In the name of "Homeland Security" my nephew is facing felony charges that could put him in jail for 5 years.

For sparklers.

Good thing he didn't have any actual firecrackers. He'd be in Gitmo by now.

UPDATE: Michael Silence pointed out that I didn't address the issue of the charge of domestic terrorism. I wanted to talk with my sister to make sure she and Nick were comfortable with this post and to make sure I had all of the facts straight before giving out too many details. The account in the Mountain Press contains several inaccuracies and omissions.

Surprise surprise.

First, They neglect to mention that Nick turned himself in once he heard that there was an investigation. He didn't wait to be identified. Second, the sparklers were placed on the lawn, not the porch. Third, the people who own the house are not pressing charges.

When Nick turned himself in, the arresting officer, Sgt. Garner, who is the guy in the Sevierville PD responsible for Homeland Security, told Nick he could be charged with domestic terrorism for the sparkler bomb. As it stands right now, the charge is Prohibited Weapons: Explosive Device, a felony that can carry a prison term of up to 12 years, not 5 as we previously thought. Sgt. Garner told my sister he had to think long and hard about going with the felony charge rather than a misdemeanor charge, but that he was under some pressure from the FBI to make an example of Nick in order to discourage other kids from doing the same thing. Apparently, sparkler bombs are a national craze right now, fueled by YouTube, the internet, and adolescent stupidity. I can neither confirm nor deny (DHS and the FBI may be reading and you can't be too careful these days) that I experimented with fireworks when I was a teenager. And I can neither confirm nor deny that two years ago, through an unforeseen combination of events, I set off almost a pound of fireworks instantaneously, resulting in a huge fountain of sparks, flame, and many many loud noises.

But I never faced felony charges, and the FBI never got involved.

Not that I know of anyway. Maybe I should file a FOIA request to see my file...

Anyway, back to Nick. His arraignment is in early March, and f this silliness goes to trial, it should be in the end of March. Now don't get me wrong; Nick made a mistake by putting the sparklers on somebody's lawn, but it's no different than egging or rolling a house. It's mischief, not malice and should be treated accordingly. Probation and hefty community service is the right answer, not a felony conviction and 12 years in jail.

Now, to the main point of the article, comparing Nick's treatment to that of Sulejman Talovic. SayUncle says:
The more accurate (and politically incorrect) question is: At what point do we label something Islamic Terrorism?

There is a simple answer. When the motivation behind the act of terror is Islam.

Tgisch responds to Uncle's question this way:
Sometimes, of course, it is purely religious in nature — witness Shia vs. Sunni, or the whole North Ireland Catholic-vs.-Protestant thing — but most of the time, it’s not, with religion simply being used as a motivator for political violence (9/11, for example).

There are a lot of mistakes in that short passage. Northern Irish terror had/has a very strong political component that is arguably much more divisive than the religious component, at least according to those folks I've talked to. Remember, that Sinn Fein's goal was not the conversion of Protestants, but the rejection of British rule.

That's pretty political.

Then there's his characterization of 9/11 as a political act only tangentially related to religion. This reveals a total ignorance of Islamic fundamentalism, which admits no difference between religion and politics. It's as if tgirsch never heard of Sharia, or the Taliban. For Islamic fundamentalists, there is no difference between the law and religion. If you don't get that, then you lack even a basic understanding of the motivations of Islamic fundamentalist terror.

Let's make this really simple, because it is. If you go out to kill a lot of people who never did anything to you in order to make some kind of point, you are a terrorist; the particular variety can be debated later.

So Talovic is a terrorist, regardless of whether his religion played a part in his motivation.

By the way, one more point to illustrate how the press works to color our perceptions of a story. Notice that even though Talovic and my nephew are both 18, Talovic is referred to as a teen, while Nick is a man. I'll leave the motives behind the differing references as an exercise for the class.

Posted by Rich
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Monogamy:  A Disease Looking for a Curre

Do you think I"m kidding?

Listen to STAR 102.1. One of the ads airing today was looking for women with low sex drives to participate in clinical research studies. Their definition of low sex drive was, you got it, long term monogamy.

So if you wait until marriage, and then honor your vows, you're officially one very sick puppy in need of a cure.

Morality: The VD of the new century.

Posted by Rich
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Headlines that Amused me over the Last Couple of Days

Global Warming Conference Canceled Due to Snow, Ice, and Extreme Cold.

(at the same time on yahoo:)
North Korea Treaty Delays Nuclear Disarmament (Reuters)
North Korea Agrees to Give Up Nukes (AP)

Posted by Rich
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Monday, February 12, 2007

And a Good Time was Had By All

First, I'd like to thank everyone who came to the Blogfest and made it a smashing success. We'll be doing another one soon, probably in early March. Calhoun's worked pretty well, but if anybody has other ideas, particularly of places where the kids can run around a bit more, let me know. The party started at 5 and the last folks left at about 9:20PM, so we had a good run.

A lot of the folks there have already blogged on it.

Present but not blogging were Les Jones and his wife Melissa, and Mark Steel.

I hope I didn't leave anybody out, or miss meeting anybody. If I did, just leave a comment and I'll fix it.

A few observations:
  • I wasn't surprised by the lack of conflict, as so many of the other bloggers were. It seems that most bloggers are smart enough to realize that the online persona is in essence an adolescent one. Even those of us who blog under our own names feel like we have some small curtain of anonymity, and that allows us to go farther than we would in real life. And to a certain extent, we all exaggerate our positions to play to our readership. But when we all get together in the real world, it's much easier to remember that the person on the other side is an actual person, and we behave accordingly. In fact, I'm perfectly certain that Mr. R Neal and I could debate nearly any political issue in person without a resulting fist fight simply because we've done it before at other blog fests. In fact, that was one of the reasons I wanted to get these things started up again; to remind everybody that we are all real people behind the pixels, in hopes of restoring some small bit of civility in the blogosphere. (Can you hear Kumbaya playing in the background?*grin*)
  • It seems that East Tennessee produces more bloggers and better bloggers than any other region in the nation, which is really surprising. But at this one meeting, we had the Instapundit and R. Neal, two heavyweights in the blogosphere, and several light heavyweights as well, including Say Uncle and Dr Helen.
  • Michael Silence's daughter is simply adorable. We watched Barney together, and Elmo.
  • Katie Allison Granju is glowing. That's the only word that fits. No, Katie, you don't look pudgy and short You look radiant.
  • After reading my post on my losses at poker, Uncle spent a considerable amount of time trying to convince me to play in a couple of home games. I'm not really sure how to take that...*grin*
  • Having the blogfest out west seems to increase attendance, but it also changes the mix. We had more of a family atmosphere at this one.
  • Barry is stumping for a future blogfest to be held at Lazer Quest. I'm worried. I don't know who he wants to shoot.
  • Lissa took a truly flattering picture of me with my mouth full, and no, I won't link to it. Find it yourself! Of course, since my mouth is always either open or full, it probably wasn't her fault.

I really enjoyed getting to meet all the new people at this bash, and reconnecting with some old faces who couldn't make the last few. Hopefully, we'll keep this thing growing. And on that note, I have a question for the brigade.

How many of you are interested in participating in charity events as a group? Things like the CANstruction competition they used to hold, or the cardboard sled race in Gatlinburg? If we have enough interest, I'd like to see us get involved in some things like that. Send me an e-mail and let me know.

Posted by Rich
BlogFests • (10) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Cultural Decay

Marilyn Monroe compared to Anna Nicole Smith.

Need I say more?

Posted by Rich
Commentary • (4) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Hold on to your lugnuts; it’s time for an overhaul!

When I upgraded to MT 3.3, my main goal was to enable comment control to reduce the ridiculous amount of spam I was getting. Unfortunately, my installation was only partially successful. Installing a comment captcha plug in broke my comments, and, whenever I try to delete spam comments that slip through moderation, I get an error. Not only that, but the entire comment/trackback functionality is unstable.

These are not good things.

So I'm going to back everything up, dump everything, and go for a clean install and see if I can get it right this time.

Posted by Rich
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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Pre-Super Bowl Prediction

Based on their performance during the play-oofs, we know that the Colts can win even if Peyton plays like Grossman. It remains to be sen if the Bears can win when Grossman plays like Grossman. That, combined with te odds against Manning having 4 mediocre games in a row, and the Colts win.

Colts 49 Bears 17

Posted by Rich
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Friday, February 02, 2007

Words Fail Me

This is the first entry in a new category, documenting signs of America's descent from a nation of free citizens to a nation of subjects. The transformation is well underway, and is probably irreversible at this point, since most of my fellow Americans appear to want the government to take care of them.

Watch this video. I've got $10 that says these officers don't even get suspended.

Posted by Rich
Subjects, not Citizens • (1) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Ok, No More Fighting It

The researchers with the most funding have won the war, science be damned. I give up.

Global Warming is real and it's all human induced.

The sun plays no role, nor does anything other than human activity.

In fact, our carbon emissions are so out of control that we're causing the surface of Mars to heat up as well, placing both planets in jeopardy.

However, only emissions from the United States cause global warming. The incredibly dirty industrial plants of the developing nations do not contribute to global warming, nor does the clear cutting of their forests reduce their carbon sink. Needless to say, the US and its increasingly large forest area does not act as a carbon sink.

In fact, global warming really is a US plot to reduce the rest of the world to starvation level poverty so we can continue to drive our SUVs and eat at McDonalds..

Fine. I believe.

And as soon as all those global warming true believers scrap their gulfstream jets and stop chartering flights across the globe to discuss how excessive consumption of hydrocarbon fuels by guys like me driving pick-up trucks is ruining the planet for everybody, then I'll change my way of life. But as long as these hypocritical twits continue to preach conservation while driving Escalades and traveling by private charter jets, then I'll continue to drive my Dodge and enjoy the benefits of global warming.

Posted by Rich
Science • (0) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Open Letter to the NFL on the Super Bowl

Dear NFL,

I will be having a Super Bowl Party for my friends. We will be watching the game in two rooms, on two big screens, one 55" and the other 61". There will also be a small screen showing downstairs in the pool room. My daughter might watch the game in her room, or she might just play Guitar Hero 2. Her door will be closed as usual, so I won't be able to tell.

The guests at my party have all agreed that, on the off chance that they are a Neilsen family that week, they will not indicate that they watched TV, most particularly the Super Bowl, during that time period in their homes. I've also requested that they bring along a food or beverage item to contribute to the party. If the weather had been better, I'd planned to rent an outdoor projector and show the game outside the house, but it is too cold and nasty for that.

In short, I, my family, my friends, and maybe even some of their friends plan to watch the game together on multiple screens, some larger than 55".

So sue me you greedy bastards!


Richard Hailey

Posted by Rich
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