Thursday, July 24, 2014

Short Takes

Ukraine: Two military jets were shot down in the same vicinity as the Malaysian airline.

Israel faces economic and political challenges; the FAA lifts the ban on flights to Tel Aviv.

Robert McDonald appears to have a lock on being confirmed as the next Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

It took almost two hours for Arizona to execute a condemned man.

Tropical Update:  TD Two has fizzled out.

The Tigers beat the Diamondbacks 11-5.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Friday, May 2, 2014

Vandalism

I stopped in at the store on the way home last night.  I was in for about ten minutes and when I came out, someone had knocked off the passenger-side rearview mirror on the Mustang.  The whole thing.  It was dangling by the cord that runs the adjustment motor.

I was parked well within the lines and when I went into the store, there were no cars on either side of me.

Of course no one saw a thing.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Friday, January 31, 2014

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Virginia Is For Looters

Via the Washington Post:

Former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were charged Tuesday with illegally accepting gifts, luxury vacations and large loans from a wealthy Richmond area businessman who sought special treatment from state government.

Authorities allege that for nearly two years, the McDonnells repeatedly asked executive Jonnie R. Williams Sr. for loans and gifts of money, clothes, golf fees and equipment, trips, and private plane rides. The gifts and loans totaled at least $165,000.

In exchange, authorities allege, the McDonnells worked in concert to lend the prestige of the governor’s office to Williams’s struggling company, Star Scientific, a former small cigarette manufacturer that now sells dietary supplements.

McDonnell, 59, is the first governor ever to face criminal charges in Virginia, a state that has prided itself on a history of clean and ethical politics, and the charges will probably accelerate a push for the legislature to tighten state ethics laws.

The criminal prosecution marks a stunning crash for a politician who was considered for the Republican vice presidential nomination in 2012 and who, just a year ago, was considered a credible prospective candidate for president.

Mr. McDonnell insists that he is innocent and blames it all on — wait for it — “overreach by the federal government.”

Wow.  That’s a rather ironic statement from someone who tried to pass a law that required that women getting an abortion have a transvaginal ultrasound whether they wanted it or not.

If convicted, Mr. McDonnell could go to prison.  I will leave it to others to come up with their own conclusions as to what kind of overreach he might face there.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Real World

You need to read this piece by Jill Filipovic about the level of online harassment she gets on a daily basis as a woman on the internet.

I know these harassment stories are ubiquitous to the point of being boring. “Women get rape threats” is not news. Amanda Hess helpfully details the actual costs of these threats: The hours of work lost to tracking someone down online, to reporting someone to the police, to developing self-protection mechanisms when the police fail, to, in extreme cases, hiring professional enforcement for speaking gigs. For me, the costs included a law school education, professional contacts, and a robust work life.

But what about the things you can’t put a price on? How many stories weren’t written because the women who could best tell them were too afraid? How many people like me, damaged and lashing out, paid their online cruelties forward? How many women look back at the person they were before their skin thickened, before they learned how to deal, when they were a little more sure-footed, and how many of them grieve a little bit for all the good things that got lost in the process of surviving?

What does an online landscape look like when the women most able to tolerate it are the same ones who are best capable of bucking up and shutting parts of themselves down?

It’s easy to leave a snarky comment on a blog post, put up a snappy comeback on a Facebook page, or smack someone down in a Twitter feed because there is a veil of anonymity.  Even if you use your real name among friends, there is still the sense of power engendered by being behind an electronic barrier of a screen and keyboard — not unlike being in a car in traffic — where you can yell and scream outrageous things knowing that you are comparatively safe from harm until the road rage hits back.

But I know too many women — and one is too many — who endure online threats of rape and death on a daily basis and as a matter of just doing their job for it not to be something that is a scourge that must be faced and defeated.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Just Say No To David Brooks Blazing A Doobie

The very idea of David Brooks getting stoned when he was a teenager makes me giggle like I’m one toke over the line, sweet Jesus.

For a little while in my teenage years, my friends and I smoked marijuana. It was fun. I have some fond memories of us all being silly together. I think those moments of uninhibited frolic deepened our friendships.

Oh, but now that he’s an adult and responsible, he doesn’t think it should be legal to smoke pot.

So, like the vast majority of people who try drugs, we aged out. We left marijuana behind. I don’t have any problem with somebody who gets high from time to time, but I guess, on the whole, I think being stoned is not a particularly uplifting form of pleasure and should be discouraged more than encouraged.

[...]

Laws profoundly mold culture, so what sort of community do we want our laws to nurture? What sort of individuals and behaviors do our governments want to encourage? I’d say that in healthy societies government wants to subtly tip the scale to favor temperate, prudent, self-governing citizenship. In those societies, government subtly encourages the highest pleasures, like enjoying the arts or being in nature, and discourages lesser pleasures, like being stoned.

Aside from the fact that this sort of argument flies in the face of the glibertarian philosophy that wants to keep government out of meddling in the private pleasures of the populace (unless, of course, you’re gay or a woman making decisions about her own body), the “societies” Mr. Brooks is promoting only exist in the country clubs where Johnnie Walker Blue Label is on the rocks and someone has just excused themselves to the powder room to take another Prozac.

In his recollection Mr. Brooks doesn’t tell us if he and his friends ever got busted for smoking weed.  Given his background and skin color, chances are that if he had, he would have been given a stern talking-to from the constabulary, a Nancy Reagan “Just Say No” video, and turned over to his parents.  Unlike a poor black kid who did the same thing, he would not have served time in jail and been branded for life with a felony conviction.

That’s the real crime.  The use of marijuana among African-Americans and whites is roughly same, but the disparity of punishment for drug use is astounding.  So while youthful David Brooks and his buddies got baked while listening to Grand Funk Railroad and staring at their hand, knowing the worst thing that could happen to them was being grounded, black kids were being sent to Rikers Island and swallowed up.

Being lectured on the evils of weed by some white middle class busybody because “in healthy societies government wants to subtly tip the scale to favor temperate, prudent, self-governing citizenship” is just plain stupid.  Tell the guy serving five years for possession just how “subtle” this government can be.  It also makes me wonder what Mr. Brooks was drinking when he wrote this drivel.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013