Archive for June 2003

Iraqi interim official arrested in U.S. crackdown

Iraqi interim official arrested in U.S. crackdown

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — U.S. troops arrested the interim governor of Najaf on kidnapping and corruption charges Monday as they continued efforts to quell attacks on coalition troops in Iraq.

* * *

Mun’im is accused of kidnapping and holding hostages, pressuring government employees to perform financial crimes, attacking a bank official and stealing funds, the statement said. Details of the charges were not released.

He was arrested at the request of Iraqi court officials in Najaf, south of Baghdad, and will be tried under Iraqi law, according to the coalition provisional authority.

I’m not sure what exactly to think of this. I like that we are letting the Iraqis run their own country, but I am concerned about how he will be processed. If he is tried under strict Shariah I think that is a step backwards. If he is given a secular (and open) trial then I think that this is a very good sign. There is one encouraging thing:
“They have been investigating these allegations for some time before concluding that there is sufficient evidence to warrant arrest,” the authority’s statement said.
I hope that a fair, honest and open trial happens. That is the sort of thing Iraqis need to see to convince them that freedom is attainable.

Left Lane Laggards, please do right thing

Left Lane Laggards, please do right thing

The National Motorists Association, the Wisconsin-based organization credited with the lobbying effort that ended the national 55 mph freeway speed limit, has designated June as “Lane Courtesy Month.” I usually ignore such designations, but this one has merit, even as June fades into July.

How about a little lane courtesy for a change?

Lane courtesy, also known as lane discipline, had its American roots in the days when roads were almost all two lanes and curvy, and passing was difficult to impossible. In those days, motorists cared enough about their fellow man to recognize that some folks might be able to safely travel a little faster. They’d pull off to the side and let others pass.

This is a pet peeve of mine. I don’t drive as fast as I used to. At one time, I was usually the fastest on the road. I’m not anymore, but I am faster than a lot of assholes in the left lane. When I am there and someone comes up behind me, I pull over. That is how it is supposed to work.

I hate being passed on the right. It isn’t safe. The reason that the Autobahn is as safe as it is is because Germans follow this ideal, with the “Drive Right” habit. America would be a much safer place if people would do this.

As for the idiots who think, “I’m not getting over just so a bunch of law-breaking speeders can go on,” remember that you are breaking the law too. (Unless you live in South Dakota.) If speeders are scum, staying in the left lane makes you scum too. Remember, speed doesn’t kill — sudden stops kill.

Business, labor leaders call on Bush to ask GOP to drop recall

Business, labor leaders call on Bush to ask GOP to drop recall

Four Democratic and Republican business leaders and a top organized labor official signed an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times Sunday asking President Bush to call for an end to the Republican-led campaign to recall Democratic Gov. Gray Davis.

“The president should demand an end to the recall effort because the nation cannot afford to have California’s economy remain stuck in reverse,” the article said.

That is a non sequitur. How does one follow the other?

“Mr. President, California is in a very tough spot. And a tough stand by you against the narrow wing of your party that advocates this recall would demonstrate your respect for California voters — those who cast their ballots for governor just seven months ago,” it concluded. “And by stopping the recall, you would give Californians the opportunity we need to focus our energies on revitalizing our economy — a revitalization that is essential to our national economic recovery.”

This is so disengenous as to be disgusting. I’m not one to preach about “respect for the voters” but I can’t let this one go. I don’t buy into the principle, but if you did, you would have to agree that if you respect the sanctity of the vote, then you have to repect the votes of those who vote for the recall, don’t you? Were they smart seven months ago but morons now? This is such an insult. Gray Davis campaigned on a number of issues, and within a month of gaining office, he reneged on every substantial one. The people of California are right to recall him, and in light of that, I wouldn’t say that they were stupid before or after — they were simply defrauded. (Sure, I would have seen it coming, but I have never claimed to be average.)

10 things to celebrateWhy I’m an anti-anti-American

Well worth the read. My favorite part:

They arrived at the same perception that I witnessed in an acquaintance of mine from Bombay who has been unsuccessfully trying to move to the United States. I asked him, “Why are you so eager to come to America?” He replied, “I really want to live in a country where the poor people are fat.”

Senate leader endorses idea of constitutional amendment to ban gay – marriage

Or, Bill Frist is an Idiot

“I very much feel that marriage is a sacrament, and that sacrament should extend and can extend to that legal entity of a union between — what is traditionally in our Western values has been defined — as between a man and a woman. So I would support the amendment.”
Putting aside the morality of the issue, this is a misuse of the constitution. We don’t need and shouldn’t add negative laws to the constitution. Setting aside one glaring example every amendment to the constitution has been added to either guarantee a freedom or to grant some regulatory authority to the Federal government, not to prohibit something.

What is the exception? Prohibition. What is the one amendment that has been repealed by an additional amendment? Prohibition. It was a failure. This would not only be a failure, in that it would have no effect on homosexuals, but it would be a slippery slope of bans that we need to stay away from. If you need an example, look at nearly any US state constitution. (I would say “any” but I haven’t looked at all of them.) Frist goes on:

“Generally, I think matters such as sodomy should be addressed by the state legislatures,” Frist said. “That’s where those decisions — with the local norms, the local mores — are being able to have their input in reflected.

“And that’s where it should be decided, and not in the courts.”

My first reaction is to say Amen, but this is one of the instances where my knee-jerk is wrong. This is a rights issue — the right to privacy. Frist is also quoted as saying,
“I have this fear that this zone of privacy that we all want protected in our own homes is gradually — or I’m concerned about the potential for it gradually being encroached upon, where criminal activity within the home would in some way be condoned,” Frist told ABC’s “This Week.”
He’s all over the place with this, but what I think he is trying to say is that he doesn’t want the right to privacy to become some sort of protection for criminal activity.

Too bad. Life sucks. Get a helmet.

All rights do this. That is why they are protected rights. The right to privacy is a real right — a Ninth Amendment right, along with the right to reproduce, the right to own property, and the right to hunt game. They are the unenumerated rights, and they are rights so basic that the founders didn’t think that it was necessary to enumerate them, because the couldn’t imagine a government that would violate them but keep the first eight intact.

Of course, they didn’t expect the Constitution to last 200 years, either.

Gut Rumbles: snakes

I thought it was funny.

The Differential Theory of US Armed Forces Snake Model: upon encountering a snake in the Area of Operations (AO)

1. Infantry: Snake smells them, leaves area.

2. Airborne: Lands on and kills the snake.

3. Armor: Runs over snake, laughs, and looks for more snakes.

Joe Bob says check it out.

Referral URL of the Day

I get some weird referrals. I get about as many people searching for bizzare shit hitting my blog as people who read it regularly or link from other blogs.

This one is weirder than the people looking for lactating muslims, or tobacco growers, or people searching for O’Rielley’s ratings.

This one is just… googlish.