Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My Rage-O-Meter is Pegged

Image by Robb Allen

The Westboro Bastards (I refuse to call them Baptist, or a church) are (supposedly*) coming to Blacksburg on April 9 to protest.
Phelps' followers notified town officials in a letter Monday that the group planned demonstrations at three locations around town, including the Blacksburg Jewish Community Center and Blacksburg High School.

Another location, near the Virginia Tech campus, was also identified.

Demonstrating near the high school seems pointless - it's been closed since the gym roof collapsed in February.

After the April 16, 2007, shootings at Tech, Phelps threatened to protest at the funerals of the 32 students and faculty slain that day. Then-Attorney General Bob McDonnell, now the governor, issued a warning that anyone willfully disrupting funerals in Virginia could face charges. Those protests never materialized.

As I remember it, a radio station bought them off with an interview - giving them airtime in exchange for them canceling the protests. While I despise the idea of giving scum like that airtime, it was probably the best thing to do for the sake of the families. (I also think that if they had tried to protest those funerals, someone would have been killed. The pain and grief in town then was a hair's breadth from flashing over to rage as it was - there's a good possibility these bastards would have started a riot just by being there.)Link

It looks like one protest is planned to be across the street from a gift shop operated by a gay couple. I wonder if that's deliberate (they may not know)?

This warms my heart, though:

A Facebook page advertising a counterprotest organized by Tech students and others had drawn more than 4,500 members by Thursday afternoon. More than 1,500 of those members indicated they would attend a counter-rally.

To those planning to attend: Be careful. They have a history of provoking people and then suing anyone who acts out against them, and they carry video recorders.

(* They have a history of announcing protests and then not showing up. Looking at their schedule, I think they do plan on being here - their schedule (I won't link to them. If you want to see it, you'll need to Google it.) puts them in Charleston, WV in the morning, Lawrence, KS from 1130 to 1200, then three separate protests in Blacksburg starting at 1300. I doubt they would go from WV to KS for just a 30 minute protest and fake the 2 1/2 hours planned here. Also, it doesn't leave them enough time to get from WV to KS - it's a 12+ hour drive, and I doubt that group could get through airport security and fly there within the roughly 4 hours the schedule allows. Charleston to Blacksburg, on the other hand, is only about a 2 1/2 hour drive. It's much more likely the Charleston and Blacksburg protests are real, and the KS one is a red herring.)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Our efficient, well-run government

Phony products by phony companies get government Energy Star approval.

Fifteen phony products — including a gasoline-powered alarm clock — won a label from the government certifying them as energy efficient in a test of the federal "Energy Star" program.
Investigators concluded the program is "vulnerable to fraud and abuse."
Really? It's "vulnerable to fraud and abuse?" No kidding!
But the General Accountability Office, Congress' investigative arm, said Energy Star doesn't verify claims made by manufacturers — which might explain the gasoline-powered alarm clock, not to mention a product billed as an air room cleaner that was actually a space heater with a feather duster and fly strips attached, and a computer monitor that won approval within 30 minutes of submission.
So, in a program involving tax credits and rebates (i.e. taxpayer money), the government doesn't bother to actually verify the claims those credits and rebates are based on. Even worse they don't even bother to find out what it is they're certifying!
"EPA officials confirmed that because the energy-efficiency information was plausible, it was likely that no one read the product description information," GAO said.
And they lie about it!
According to the GAO, the EPA and Energy Department told investigators in briefings that although the program is based on manufacturers' certifying their products meet efficiency standards, that efficiency is ensured through aftermarket tests and self-policing.
Remember, this is the same government that is now in charge of our health-care system. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Monday, March 22, 2010

You'd almost think they were prepared, or something

Another Health Care Bill story that warms my heart.

Less than 24 hours after the House of Representatives gave final approval to a sweeping overhaul of healthcare, attorneys general from several states on Monday said they will sue to block the plan on constitutional grounds.

Republican attorneys general in 11 states warned that lawsuits will be filed to stop the federal government overstepping its constitutional powers and usurping states' sovereignty.


Ten of the attorneys general plan to band together in a collective lawsuit on behalf of Alabama, Florida, Nebraska, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington.

It's good to see quick action on this. And Virginia isn't left out, either.

Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli, who plans to file a lawsuit in federal court in Richmond, Virginia, said Congress lacks authority under its constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce to force people to buy insurance. The bill also conflicts with a state law that says Virginians cannot be required to buy insurance, he added.
The governor must have signed that bill in the last day or so - the last time I checked, it hadn't been signed and therefore wasn't the law. Other states are doing the same.

In addition to the pending lawsuits, bills and resolutions have been introduced in at least 36 state legislatures seeking to limit or oppose various aspects of the reform plan through laws or state constitutional amendments, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

So far, only two states, Idaho and Virginia, have enacted laws, while an Arizona constitutional amendment is seeking voter approval on the November ballot. But the actual enactment of the bill by President Barack Obama could spur more movement on the measures by state lawmakers.

Maybe this massive government expansion will be killed in the courts.

Health "Care" Roundup

Well, they did it. The Democrat Party bucked the voters, opposed public opinion, and inflicted a massive socialist health insurance system on us.

This story warms my heart. The media is already talking about how this will hurt the Dems.

The initial blush of President Barack Obama's health care triumph immediately gives way to a sober political reality — he must sell the landmark legislation to an angry and unpredictable electorate, still reeling from the recession.

Voters may not buy it.

And that could mean a disastrous midterm election year for Obama and his fellow Democrats.

Some are saying that after the Repubs get control of Congress back, they can repeal this insanity. While I agree that they could, I think pigs growing wings and joining the avian family is far more likely. Obama will never sign a repeal, and I doubt they'll get the numbers to override a veto. By the time we have a President who may be receptive, there will be a massive bureaucracy in place, working against repeal in order to protect itself. Let's face it - when was the last time the government made itself smaller?

And now, here's a quick roundup of coverage by the bloggers I frequent. They'll probably say anything I could, and do it much better.

Nicki at The Liberty Zone is rightfully furious.

Robb at Sharp as a Marble has a simple reminder for us.

Sebastian at Snowflakes in Hell has several posts, reminding us that there should be consequences for those who voted for this monstrosity, that it's not completely over yet, and starts looking to what the next steps should be. He shows us that some are looking to present a united fight against this even after it's signed.

Another rightfully angry post, this one by Atom Smasher at Men Are Not Potatoes.

A Conservative Shemale reminds us that it's not the end of the world, or even the country, and offers us some comfort. I'm not quite as confident about this as the person she quotes, but that's more due to some of the specifics of the bill than the principle that is quoted.

Brigid at Home on the Range has a simple message that we should all remember eight months from now.

Tam at View From the Porch give us a little (but only a little, in my opinion) hyperbole.

Michael Bane posts a quote that shows that wisdom can come from any source, and gives us some other words of wisdom.

That's all I have for the moment, but it's still early this morning. I may do an update later, if I have time.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Stupid, stupid, stupid!

Somali pirates attack a Dutch warship:

Troops aboard the Dutch warship HNLMS Tromp fired warning shots Wednesday off the coast of East Africa as suspected Somali pirates in two small skiffs raced toward their warship, the EU Naval Force said.

After the pirates realized they had made what spokesman Cmdr. John Harbour called a "rather silly mistake," they turned around and fled. EU Naval Force personnel tracked down the two skiffs and a third suspected mothership, finding ammunition and rocket-propelled grenades on board, said Harbour, a spokesman for the EU Naval Force.

But that's not the stupid part. This is:

The two skiffs were destroyed and the pirates were set free on the mothership after it had been cleared of weapons. [emphasis mine]
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over?

Do they really expect that to stop - or even slightly discourage - these human cockroaches from going right back out and attacking another ship? They probably had replacement skiffs and weapons before the end of the day! If you want to stop piracy, you have to actually punish the pirates! Hanging from the yardarm is a good start.

One of these days, someone is going to get really serious about fighting pirates. Until then, well, we have this idiocy.

Monday, March 15, 2010

RIP Capt. Oveur

Actor Peter Graves dies at 83.

Victor has your vector, and you have clearance, Clarence.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Another reason DADT should be repealed

She followed the rules and stayed in the closet - and someone else outed her to the military, so now she's been discharged under DADT.

Jene Newsome played by the rules as an Air Force sergeant: She never told anyone in the military she was a lesbian. The 28-year-old's honorable discharge under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy came only after police officers in Rapid City, S.D., saw an Iowa marriage certificate in her home and told the nearby Ellsworth Air Force Base.


Newsome was at work at the base at the time and refused to immediately come home and assist the officers in finding her partner, whom she married in Iowa — where gay marriage is legal — in October.

Police officers, who said they spotted the marriage license on the kitchen table through a window of Newsome's home, alerted the base, police Chief Steve Allender said in a statement sent to the AP. The license was relevant to the investigation because it showed both the relationship and residency of the two women, he said.


In the complaint filed last month with the department, ACLU South Dakota said police had no legal reason to tell the military Newsome was a lesbian and that officers knew if they did, it would jeopardize her military career.

Newsome, who was discharged in January, said she didn't know where the marriage license was in her home when police came to her house on Nov. 20 and claims the officers were retaliating because she wouldn't help with her partner's arrest.

This was blatant retaliation, despite the police department's claims that once they knew they "had" to tell the military. They knew that giving that information to her superiors would destroy her career - it's not like DADT is a secret. Telling the military she's a lesbian could do nothing to help them bring in her partner, the only possible goal was to hurt Newsome for not cooperating.

This is another example of why DADT is just wrong. You can follow the rules, staying deep in the closet and keeping any relationships a deep, dark secret, but if someone else outs you to the military, your career is destroyed anyway.

We already make gays and lesbians hide who they are for their entire military careers. Should we also make them take a vow of celibacy and eschew all romantic relationships for as long as they serve? I might support that - but only if we require heterosexuals to do the same thing.

Update: A little research prompted by a debate going on over at A Conservative Shemale has revealed that we actually do effectively make gays and lesbians take a vow of celibacy when they join the military. From the actual DADT law (10 U.S.C. 654)
(b) Policy.— A member of the armed forces shall be separated from the armed forces under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense if one or more of the following findings is made and approved in accordance with procedures set forth in such regulations:

(1) That the member has engaged in, attempted to engage in, or solicited another to engage in a homosexual act or acts


(3) That the member has married or attempted to marry a person known to be of the same biological sex.

[omitted sections deal with exceptions to the law]
So gays who join the military can't have a romantic relationship (after all, even kissing or holding hands by two men can be considered "a homosexual act or acts"). I stand by my original conclusion: I might support that - but only if we apply it to heterosexuals, too.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Here's news to me - the U.S. Department of Education has "combat training and protocol[s]" that require short-barreled shotguns. What the heck does the Dept. of Education need combat training and protocols for? Raids on unauthorized homeschoolers?

(h/t SayUncle)

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Oh, HELL No!

Real ID 2.0, anyone?
Lawmakers working to craft a new comprehensive immigration bill have settled on a way to prevent employers from hiring illegal immigrants: a national biometric identification card all American workers would eventually be required to obtain.
Can you think of a better way to unite large numbers of conservatives and liberals than this? I mean, Real ID has states passing laws making it illegal for state agencies to comply with parts of the RealID Act. Why?
Under the potentially controversial plan still taking shape in the Senate, all legal U.S. workers, including citizens and immigrants, would be issued an ID card with embedded information, such as fingerprints, to tie the card to the worker.
Potentially controversial? What planet were they living on when Real ID was being debated? Do they really think Americans have changed enough that quickly for this to not stir up a rain of fecal matter?

Also, unless there's a central database that the information is checked against every time the card is read, I predict it will take less than six months for criminals to crack the code on the cards and start making fakes that read with biometrics matching whoever they decide to give the card to. Less than a year to spoof it, if there is a database (unless some .gov idiot leaks the whole bloody database on a 'lost' laptop, sooner).
"It is fundamentally a massive invasion of people's privacy," said Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. "We're not only talking about fingerprinting every American, treating ordinary Americans like criminals in order to work. We're also talking about a card that would quickly spread from work to voting to travel to pretty much every aspect of American life that requires identification."
Exactly. Just like social security numbers were only supposed to be used for Social Security purposes. It will spread to everything.

(h/t A Conservative Shemale)

Friday, March 05, 2010

Yet more Climate Change shenanigans

Now it's NASA/GISS cooking the numbers.

Now a new "Climategate" scandal is emerging, this time based on documents released by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in response to several Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suits filed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). The newly released emails further demonstrate the politicized nature of climate science, revealing a number of questionable practices that cast doubt on the credibility of scientific data provided by NASA.


In another email, he reveals that NASA had inflated its temperature data since 2000 on a questionable basis. “[NASA's] assumption that the adjustments made the older data consistent with future data… may not have been correct,” he says.


Unfortunately, it seems that the discrepancy privately highlighted by Dr. Ruedy was not coincidental, but part of a broader pattern of misrepresentation on the part of GISS. Between 2002 and 2005, GISS chief James Hansen issued press releases headlined "2005 Warmest Year in a Century;" "2006 was Earth's Fifth Warmest Year;" and "The 2002 meteorological year is the second warmest year in the period of accurate instrumental data." In other words, global warming is happening and that immediate action is necessary.


In fact, further corrections revealed by the emails indicate that U.S. temperatures on average had only increased by 0.5 degree Celsius since 1934, rather than 1 degree, as originally claimed.
There's more - you should go read the whole thing. Remember - even in science - where there's money involved, there's politics involved.

(h/t SayUncle)

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Repeal of Virginia's restaurant CHP ban passes

According to the VCDL Blog, SB334, repealing the ban on concealed carry in restaurants, passed the House today unchanged with a vote of 72 to 27! It should be in front of the Governor McDonnell in a week or so. He has indicated in the past that he would sign such a bill, so it's pretty much a done deal.

McDonald v. Chicago - Oral arguments today

Update: Analysis: 2d Amendment extension likely (from SCOTUSBlog)

This is troubling, though:
The dominant sentiment on the Court was to extend the Amendment beyond the federal level, based on the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of “due process,” since doing so through another part of the 14th Amendment would raise too many questions about what other rights might emerge. [emphasis mine]
Why is that relevant? Or, to echo a point Mr. Gura made at one time, the SCOTUS should be concerning itself with what the Constitution means, not whether it’s a good idea to follow it.

Just a reminder, oral arguments in McDonald v. Chicago are at 10:00 today. Apparently, SCOTUS has decided they will not release the audio, but the transcript should be available later today.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Holy Bullshit!

This fills me with a sick rage.

They ride around seeking out girls who they feel sinned by wearing revealing clothing (anyone who isn't dressed in an ankle-length skirt with a shirt buttoned up all the way and a kerchief covering her hair, apparently), and pass out repugnant pamphlets blaming rape victims for the actions of deranged lunatics who seek power by sexually violating women!
One passage from the pamphlet reads:

“Scripture tells us that when a man looks on a woman to lust for her he has already committed adultery in his heart. If you are dressed in a way that tempts a men to do this secret (or not so secret) sin, you are a participant in the sin,” the leaflet states.“By the way, some rape victims would not have been raped if they had dressed properly. So can we really say they were innocent victims?” [emphasis mine]
Nicki hits the nail on the head:
The only difference between these drooling, frothing zealots and their Taliban counterparts is that they haven't gained enough power to start stoning women to death for provocative dress yet.
I hope I never run into one of these idiots. Testing the limits of my self-control is not a good thing, and I really don't need to deal with an assault trial - but someone who tries to tell me a rape victim brought it on herself because of the way she was dressed stands a good chance of losing many teeth. Though I would push for a jury trial if I lost that battle, since I doubt the jury selection process could find 12 people around here who would vote to convict.

Oh, and on a separate note (from the same post at Nicki's) - Pat Robertson, you really need to drink a big tall glass of STFU, you evil piece of revolting buzzard excrement.

Quote of the Day - 1 March 2010

From Tam, remembering her office's first Win95 install:

"You mean all the machines in the office have a browser icon on the desktop?"

"Yes," she replied.

"And a fat pipe right to the Web?"


"And this seems like a good idea to you?"
If only we knew.