Monday, February 26, 2007

PC annoyances

I'm getting involved with the community again, more out of a sense of obligation and duty than anything, and hope to make it out sane and in one piece as of July in all likelihood, despite my best attempts to keep the LGBT content somewhat in balance, I apologize in advance for what I expect to be a temporary elevation in said content as I vent.

I really don't like Political Correctness. I like even less the notion of Affirmative Action, particularly when dealing with stuff at high speed in a crisis sort of mode.

One of the BiggerCity types has already been commenting to me at some length about the necessity of this "one time only" efforts setting a good example and having male & female co-chairs and reserved seats for women and persons of color.

I'm sorry...I'm not really friendly to that notion under any circumstances, but when there's an event for 100k people to be built out in 90 days or less - all I really care about are warm, breathing, competent, and friendly to the cause. And I'm willing to negotiate about degree in the case of the last two.

We're potentially staring a hostile/angry city government in the face, a freaked out community, and starting from scratch with emergency services liaison work (being on the same page is a GOOD thing), not to mention about thirty-dozen other things - and you want us to complicate things by splitting the chairmanship or telling volunteers they are the wrong color or gender?

Even in the best of circumstances...if, as I believe, women and persons of color are every bit as bright, competent, inspired, and talented as those who are *not* women or persons of color - the "honey, I recognize you just can't quite cut it, so let me give you some slack"of affirmative action and reserved positions strikes me as both incredibly insulting and condescending..and that's when I'm being generous in my analysis.

**done with rant**

Thank you for your time, this is been a periodic rant.

Ooops. Ahhh, goddamit...

There exist substantial downsides to being a responsible member of a community and having occasionally assumed a leadership role in the past. That said...

BiggerCity Pride Historic Organizers of Pride (BC-HOP) in 2004 got tired, and handed over the reigns and just about 30k to BiggerCity Bright Shiny (BC-BS) with the instructions go forth and do an annual Pride Event. Historically, this meant a parade with 100k or so in attendance meandering up for a sunny afternoon in Memorial Park and at the end of the day...the parader's were paraded, food booths had sold food, merchandise vendors had merchandised, community organizations had gotten their annual big grab at community wallet and attention span, educators had educated, entertainers had entertained, and speakers had spoken - and there would be about 30k left over to distribute to good causes and set aside as seed money for the subsequent years event. All good.

In 2005, BC-BS threw a heck of an event in the historic model with major sponsorship from brewers, software makers, and sundry others - good attendance and all appeared well. In 2006, umm...

In 2006, BC-BS insisted the event had outgrown the parade route and Memorial Park - that it was unsafe, and needed to be moved downtown to where all the other really big important parades occurred and proceed out to BiggerCity Big Event Lovely Location (BC-BELL) - over much screaming from traditionalists, sentimentalists, and many businesses (including the bars, for whom Pride weekend is the single largest revenue producing weekend in a year), this change occurred.

The parade was moved to downtown BiggerCity, and the festival out to BC-BELL, and in fact the attendees had a splendid time and I'm told the event was quite high-spirited and cheery.

We are now in February of 2007 with BiggerCity announcing that due to breach of contract (owing over 100k in fees for BC-BELL alone, rumors of deposits never returned, and vendors never paid) that the city was canceling the contract with BC-BS and revoking the date reservations at BC-BELL. Yeargh.

BC-BS's credibility pretty well trashed, and it seeming a tad unfair that a bunch of community organizations be torpedoed fiscally for BC-BS's sins, a bunch of us best described as unwilling has-beens and spirited newbies are jumping in to pull a smaller event together along the historic model..and do in 3 months what normally takes 9.

And I'm starting work tomorrow...

If it's not raining, it's pouring. **grouse**

Saturday, February 24, 2007

About that new gun ban...

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy D-NY as noted in the immediately previous post...has been a very naughty girl indeed, supporting the commission of theft by legislative fiat and constitutional mischievousness.

Best of all, she has done this in the immediate post-Zumbo world. Hrmm.

Before we all go back to sleep, proverbially, what say we Zumbo her?

Thoughts, anyone?

New Gun Ban - NRA-ILA alert

NRA-ILA Grassroots Alert Vol. 14, No. 8 02/23/07

THE MOST SWEEPING GUN BAN EVER INTRODUCED IN CONGRESS; McCarthy Bill Bans Millions More Guns Than The Clinton Gun Ban On Feb. 14, 2007, Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) introduced H.R. 1022, a bill with the stated purpose, "to reauthorize the assault weapons ban, and for other purposes."

McCarthy's verbiage warrants explanation. Presumably, what she means by "assault weapons ban" is the Clinton Gun Ban of 1994. Congress allowed the ban to expire in 2004 for multiple reasons, including the fact that federal, state and local law enforcement agency studies showed that guns affected by the ban had been used in only a small percentage of crime, before and after the ban was imposed.

With the nation's murder rate 43% lower than in 1991, and the re-legalized guns still used in only a small percentage of crime, reauthorizing the Clinton Gun Ban would be objectionable enough. But McCarthy's "other purposes" would make matters even worse. H.R. 1022 would ban every gun banned by the Clinton ban, plus millions more guns, including:

. Every gun made to comply with the Clinton ban. (The Clinton ban dictated the kinds of grips, stocks and attachments new guns could have. Manufacturers modified new guns to the Clinton requirements. H.R. 1022 would ban the modified guns too.)

. Guns exempted by the Clinton ban. (Ruger Mini-14s and -30s and Ranch Rifles; .30 cal. carbines; and fixed-magazine, semi-automatic, center-fire rifles that hold more than 10 rounds.)
. All semi-automatic shotguns. (E.g., Remington, Winchester, Beretta and Benelli, used for hunting, sport shooting, and self-defense. H.R. 1022 would ban them because they have "any characteristic that can function as a grip,"and would also ban their main component, called the "receiver.")

. All detachable-magazine semi-automatic rifles-including, for example, the ubiquitous Ruger 10/22 .22 rimfire-because they have "any characteristic that can function as a grip."

. Target shooting rifles. (E.g., the three centerfire rifles most popular for marksmanship competitions: the Colt AR-15, the Springfield M1A and the M1 "Garand.")

. Any semi-automatic shotgun or rifle an Attorney General one day claims isn't "sporting," even though the constitutions of the U.S. and 44 states, and the laws of all 50 states, recognize the right to use guns for defense.

. 65 named guns (the Clinton law banned 19 by name); semi-auto fixed-magazine pistols of over 10 rounds capacity; and frames, receivers and parts used to repair or refurbish guns.

H.R. 1022 would also ban the importation of magazines exempted by the Clinton ban, ban the sale of a legally-owned "assault weapon" with a magazine of over 10 rounds capacity, and begin backdoor registration of guns, by requiring private sales of banned guns, frames, receivers and parts to be conducted through licensed dealers. Finally, whereas the Clinton Gun Ban was imposed for a 10-year trial period, H.R. 1022 would be a permanent ban.

Please be sure to contact your U.S. Representative and urge him or her to oppose H.R. 1022!

Zumbo, Petzal, etc

Zumbo, at this point, seems to have either "gotten it" or been driven to a reasonable simulcra thereof out of simple professional self-preservation. Short of going to the Brady Campaign headquarters and immolating himself while shrieking "what a fool I was, what a fool I was" there is not terribly much more he can do in terms of penance beyond a sincere attempt to go forth and sin no more.

The man has lost his credibility as a writer, his job, his major sponsors, and the goodwill of the firearms community - he's in a mighty deep hole from which to dig himself out.

He will never again have the stature he once had, and will be doing darned well to redeem himself even somewhat over several years time...and the sincerity of his apologies at this point can only be judged by his future actions. Let's not celebrate his error, or even play nice with those who might - but I think the point has been made with sufficient vigor that the constant public excoriation (no matter HOW fun it is to have a justifiable target for pent-up bile) is no
longer necessary and begins however slowly to reflect badly on us at least as much as it does our opposition.

As regards Petzal's comments - his contempt for the community for which he writes, is regrettable. He obviously fails to understand that the First Amendment is a restraint upon government, not it's citizens - and that part of the package of being a public figure is that every word, thought, and deed public or private may very well be that very word, thought, or deed that will reap the whirlwind. None of us are beyond reproach, and once one has stepped into the spotlight as a prominent representative of this group or that, it only becomes more dramatically truthful.

I am saddened by the lack of vigor in Petzal's response logs in Field & Stream, and the lack of historical and factual knowledge thereof. The claim that by a hunter that a semi-auto action somehow made a firearm unsporting or capable of burst fire...seems particularly demonstrative
of the ignorance of the Zumbo-supportive response.

Hopefully this recent trend of Zumbo and now Petzal is not catching.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Some days are GOOD days

Waxing a pair of state insurance exams is good. Doing both while half-awake is better. Doing it on a day when there are guilty giggles to be had is better yet...

Recently former NBA-Allstar Tim Hardaway made a number of unfortunate comments about his lack of affection towards the LGBT population. Specifically,

"Well, you know, I hate gay people. I let it be known, I don’t like gay people. I don’t like to be around gay people. Yeah, I’m homophobic. I don’t like it. It shouldn’t be in the world for that or in the United States for that. So, yeah, I don’t like it.”
– the former Miami Heat guard doesn’t hold back (CBS report here)

Now, the usual suspects (GLAAD, the NBA, etc) chimed in suggesting that perhaps Hardaway was a less than nice person, at variance with their corporate policies, or took action to express their dismay. Mwhahahaha.

That was, apparently, the warm-up team. This afternoon on returning home George Takei (best known for his role as Sulu in the original Star Trek) let fly with his own little love tap that is simply delightfully evil, and this evening I run across the words of Scott Adams of Dilbert on the subject, for yet more evil giggles. You know you're in trouble when talented actors and cartoonists begin to lampoon you...after all, it's a short ride from there to a Jay Leno monologue.



Meanwhile, the pseudo-new Jim Zumbo website (language warning) crossed my path, resorting in more evil giggling.

Finally, a wonderful new adventure in Tapa's (who knew that dates and bacon go well together?), and meandering about gabbing with a friend while working off dinner ended the day well.

All in all, a good day. Can't complain. Even got a new windshield of that makes the car ever-so-much-more pleasant to drive.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Outdoor Life caves...

Subsequent to Outdoor Life writer composing an anti-gun screed, first over 3500 replies to the writers blog appeared with 90%+ hostile to the writer, and then Remington severing their relationship with the magazine. Eeeps. Latest news is OL has caved and pulled down the writers entire Blog.

Some things should not, however, be forgotten, lest they be forgiven. Some reasonably polite e-mails to the host of Zumbo's show, the Outdoor Channel, might also be appropriate. Be sure and CC: Remington and mention that the show still lists their Zumbo affiliation. After all, we want to help Remington, don't we? :)


"Former political activist and sometimes Valley resident _______ brings his uniquely libertarian views to the political scene, with a general contempt for control freaks of any stripe his basic starting point, allowing him far more independence than the average observer...he hates almost all of them, Democrat and Republican, in equal measure...."

Goodness...I wonder who the nice editor is going on about

Zumbo Implosion

I'm not a hunter. I've aspired to it, even bought a rifle or two with the project in mind, but the stars have not shone upon this aspiration and seem unlikely to do so at this late date. Centerfire pistol has always been more my thing.

That said, it appears that long-time Outdoor Life writer Jim Zumbo blogged a mighty blog and in one fell swoop may have taken down his career and the magazine for which he works, despite an apology. Thousands of subscribers appear to be rising up and canceling subscriptions, and in breaking news, Remington (a major advertiser for any outdoor magazine) is terminating all relationships with Zumbo and Outdoor Life. One would hope other principled firearms and accessories manufacturers would take similar steps.

What was Zumbo's sin? Many would parse it as "treason to the cause", but it can be explained more simply - ignorance and bigotry.

Simply because we don't own/like big black scary guns doesn't mean we should criticize those who do - they may not like our pretty wood-stocked lever actions and revolvers (and frankly, I lean semi-auto in handgun, aside from aesthetics), but neither should the BBSG owner get all bent about my more aesthetically pleasing devices - they both fling projectiles of useful mass with acceptable accuracy down range, after all.

I don't like the sound of a truck spring flexing next to my head when I fire a rifle - that kind of rules out the AR line for me; similarly, I don't enjoy coming home covered in grease and half-burned powder...ruling out a AK series for my collection. But both are reliable designs, as are many others who may not fit my personal predilection for my idea of pretty vs. utilitarian compromise.

Zumbo didn't get this - what works for me, may not work for you, and vice versa. And it may not work for some pretty darned silly/sentimental reasons. rights are only as safe as yours, so..throwing you under the bus does not serve me well.

Jim? It may have been a mistake...but you need to retire and start writing very discreetly under a pen name as now the only variable is how long the fan will keep running with the manure truck backed up to it, not whether you're going to be standing in front of it. It's sad your lifes work is done, but some mistakes are sufficiently irrecoverable that all that is left is to go forward doing something different...

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Back to the future again

The LawDog Files: Here we bloody go again.

Joy to the world, in HB 1022 we see the re-emergence of the ill-conceived Clinton-era assault weapon. As Lawdog says, write your congress-critters, play nice regardless of how despicable your set thereof may be, and prepare to make donations to the campaign of whoever is running against U.S Rep. Carolyn McCarthy NY-4(D) in the 2008 election...think of it as an extra special indication of love.

In the meantime, contact information for the Log Cabin Republicans of NYC is as below. They may be the only presently electable GOP sorts in NYC presently...and at least may have some thoughts on candidates worthy of donations running against McCarthy in '08.

    Log Cabin Republicans of New York City, Inc.
    Grand Central Station
    P.O. Box 2561
    New York, NY 10163

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

News of the Distinctly Odd

In an exciting article from that tome of all things Nordic, AftenPosten, we find the tale of an exciting new business venture by Venoy & Co. - producing bio-diesel from surplus human fat drawn off during liposuctions...about 2600 gallons of bio-diesel a week, according to the article, from a deal in negotiation with U.S. hospital giant Jackson Memorial.


To "Do No Harm", the latest add to my little list of blog the words of one of the blogs creators,

"Also, thought you might be amused by this blog I've just started with a friend from work:

The friend is somewhat anti-gun but liked my written testimony because it exposed some dumb flaws in the gun show bill. I was thinking of inviting various sensible people with different political perspectives to contribute material to this site....kind
of a "keep them honest" and/or "isn't this stupid" kind of site."

Sounds promising, and I hope some of my fellow bloggers meander over, chime in, and perhaps even shed a few pearls of wisdom.

News from Alphecca

It appears that Texas is considering the Castle Doctrine that Oklahoma passed some years ago, with a dramatic reduction in residential burglaries...from a comment that linked to Alphecca, we get:

"From a press release issued by the Oklahoma State Senate in 2004:

"It has been an unqualified success. Since the Make My Day Law came into force, burglary has declined by almost half in Oklahoma. In 1987, there were 58,333 cases; in 2000, just 31,661."

Oklahoma's original stand-your-ground law was adopted in 1987 and applied only to invasions of a "dwelling," but did allow use of deadly force if you reasonably believed the invader "might use any physical force, no matter how slight," against any occupant of the dwelling. It gave you an affirmative defense in a criminal prosecution and immunity from civil liability for injuries or death you inflicted.

In November 2006 the law was expanded substantially, to give a PRESUMPTION of reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm from a person who had unlawfully entered OR WAS IN THE PROCESS OF unlawfully entering a dwelling, residence OR VEHICLE. This expanded the circumstances in which deadly force could be used, and shifted the burden to the state to prove, beyond a resonable doubt, that you were NOT in fear of death before they could convict you for shooting a home invader (basically an impossible burden of proof for the state to meet if you keep your mouth shut, unless you manage to tie the guy up before you shoot him.)

The new law also allows use of deadly force OUTSIDE the home without a duty to retreat, including using deadly force to prevent a "forcible felony" against you or anybody else; prohibits arrest of a self-defense shooter unless the cops have probable cause to believe that the use of force was unlawful; and prohibits prosecution for use of force as authorized. It adds teeth to the immunity from civil suit by awarding the defendant legal fees, court costs and other expenses if the court finds he was immune from criminal prosecution. All in all, a substantial expansion of the protections allowed for the last 20 years.

I can easily believe there would be a dramatic drop in burglaries over a couple of decades as the consequences filter down into the subconscious minds of the mutant community. Not all of them are complete morons, and as they watched some of their friends and associates get blown away by homeowners who caught 'em in the act of burglarizing a home, it should sink in that that's not the healthiest line of work.

From the same OK Senate press release:

"While crime rates throughout America fell in the 1990s, Make My Day supporters point to a second statistic in Oklahoma they say proves the impact of the new [1987] law: while burglary rates plunged, other forms of theft stayed constant. In 1988, there were 96,418 cases, in 2000, 96,111."

Now that the same self defense rules apply to public places and to vehicles as have applied to residential burglaries for 20 years, we shouldn't be surprised if Oklahoma begins to see a drop in other violent crimes as well."

Goodness. If only Washington would pass such a thing down in Olympia...

Morning Mumblings

As I enter day two of "insurance geek training", a few rambling thoughts before I meander off to learn about the wonderful world of Life & Casualty.

Giulani signifies one of the two great errors in direction of the GOP, the other being represented by Sam Brownback of Kansas. Giulani stands for the Dem-Lite East Coast GOP, only slightly less burdened by "liberal guilt" and enthused about the messianic nature of big government than their Democratic brethren. Their main disagreement with the Democrats is over *where* heavy-handed government intervention is appropriate, rather than whether it's appropriate at all - and often their differences are fairly quibbling.

Brownback represents the other extreme of GOP error - the heavy-handed theocrat ever-eager to dictate the morals of the populace and "preserve the Christian nation". Jefferson would be horrified.

Neither serves the GOP or the nation well, variously detracting from the electability of GOP candidates and from the desire of most of the citizenry to simply be let alone by their government. Most folks, in my experience, are fairly happy with the notion of fire/police/parks/emt services, a secure set of borders, and economic stability or improvement - and grow increasingly suspicious as government ventures beyond these narrow missions.

That said, let's take a look at an exciting new initiative by Bank of America aimed at illegal immigrants - credit cards for illegal immigrants. Aimed at persons without social security numbers or credit histories, they seem a likely haven not only for illegal immigrants but for other "privacy enthusiasts" of both the sort we like and those indulging in criminal hobbies.

Without investigating in detail, my head already aches with the opportunities to go horribly wrong the above presents...countered only by the notion that I *do* find privacy rather charming, and wouldn't be opposed to having a credit card myself where I didn't need to offer a social security number or a credit history to get it.

I am sure that more will emerge on this trend as time goes on...

Till later..

Monday, February 12, 2007

How Misanthropic Are You?

You Are 42% Misanthropic

You're somewhat misanthropic, but you're not willing to write off the human race (yet!).
There's a few people you like, and even them you like at a distance.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

On dealing with the anti-gun

When I was down in Olympia the other day testifying in opposition to an anti-gun bill (veiled "no private sales/impose registration" act hiding behind a red herring of "gun show regulation") I chatted with Joe Waldron from over at the Second Amendment Foundation.

He pointed out rather cogently that the real "anti-gun" sorts were virtually beyond argument because their fundamental issue was about a fear of themselves - that they don't trust *themself* to have a gun without going homicidally bonkers, and thus it is unlikely they will ever be willing to trust anyone else.

At the time I argued, thinking of a good friend of mine who is a raging elitist on the subject ("there is no reason for anyone but trained experts to have or own guns! Maybe if someone lives alone 5 miles out into the woods and never ever takes it off their property they can have one! Same rules as someone living on top of a basement full of dynamite!")...but was forced to reconsider, once I got past the fact that my friend is on most every other subject delightfully rational and insightful.

When it comes down to it, his fundamental argument originates with "god forbid I should have a gun, I would just have a bad day and go berserk" (which given how generally rational and together he is, I rather doubt), and proceeds on with "and if that is true of me, a reasonably rational and brighter than average sort, then the unwashed masses CERTAINLY aren't capable or competent to handle such responsibility". From that, we discover a general (if kindly) contempt of the vast majority of the populace...

All else proceeds from this base, including arguments that the 2nd Amendment is either misinterpeted, outdated, or both; that the founding fathers cannot possibly have meant to have endorsed private ownership, and even if they did they were wrong as the rest of the world gets along just fine without this right and with a lower rate of violent death. (His belief, not mine)

Joe is right. The majority of the more enthusiastic anti-gun sorts do proceed from an emotional basis of fear and distrust first of self, and then the rest of the populace which we normally trust less than we do ourselves (which at least is a healthy bias, even if the fear and distrust of self is unjustified).

That my friend suffers this curse makes him no less my friend, but I am forced to agree to disagree on this particular topic where I find him going completely off the tracks from the rational, kindly, reality-based person I've found him to be on most every other subject we gab about into a "people cannot be trusted with this" mode.

Ah well...

Friday, February 9, 2007


Harvard Crimson writer actually begins to see the light, though dimly..

Check it out..

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Testified in Olympia today...

Madame Chair, esteemed committee members -

My name is **snip**, and I come before you today to testify against Senate Bill 5197 as a gay man, as a former activist in the Seattle LGBT community, and the founding President of Cease Fear.

My community anything but a stranger to oppression and harassment, at both the hands of bigots and legislators, as I am sure Senator Murray can confirm.

As a community, we are also after much agonizing coming to the realization that while our friends in law enforcement will investigate and prosecute subsequent to hate crimes and assaults, that the odds are that they will not miraculously be there to intervene during an attack, and we must assume responsibility for our own safety.

Historically, one of the most powerful tools used against us was to harass our gatherings and our associations. Senate Bill 5197 reeks of this sort of harassment.

Senate Bill 5197 is founded on at best a myth, at worst, a cynical lie.

All the laws that apply to the sales of firearms anywhere in the State of Washington apply with equal vigor at any gun show in the State of Washington. Licensed dealers must comply with all the Federal and State statutory and regulatory requirements they must follow in their own shops; private individuals are barred by both law and show rules from selling to any person they have reason to believe may not lawfully have a firearm.

The United States Department of Justice tells us that gun shows are in fact the least likely source of felons’ firearms, with less than 1% originating from shows. Almost 80% of criminals obtain their guns illegally - from family or friends buying for them what they cannot buy for themselves, or in street purchases of stolen firearms - such as Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske's Glock 9mm stolen from his car.

None of the high visibility incidents over the past year in the Greater Seattle area has involved a firearm purchased at a gun show. Already the single gun show organizer in the Seattle area, the Washington Arms Collectors, requires a background check before even accepting membership, let alone making sales or purchases of firearms.

Since regulating gun shows would only mandate an expensive, invasive, and redundant second background check on private citizens in an environment where any sort of misconduct is already vanishingly rare - what is to be gained?

The Washington Arms Collectors are one of the most powerful firearms rights groups in the State; barring or inhibiting their members from gathering or sharing their interests significantly weakens their ability to fund-raise, promote their hobby, and the ability of their members to participate in the political process - all advantages to misguided gun control proponents and their philosophical allies. It doesn’t hurt that SB 5197 reduces the opportunity for people to be exposed to firearms in a non-threatening or even positive environment.

Given the loosely written definition of a Gun Show in the bill, three law-abiding citizens standing around at a firing range after target practice, bandying about the latest gossip - would become criminals if one then sold a firearm to another - though the transaction was in all other respects lawful.

This would effectively force a prudent citizen into a de facto acceptance of processing all firearms transactions through a licensed dealer with all the record-keeping, expense, and intrusiveness thereof...and generate significant costs to the state to both administer and enforce.

The only benefit is a sop thrown elitists and supporters of enhancing victim vulnerability, who believe that the average citizen should not be trusted with an implement as dangerous as a rubber spoon - and that sop will come at significant expense.

A bill such as this, supported only by fallacy and prejudice, is a bill to be ashamed of - Senate Bill 5197 should never have been proposed by any responsible legislator, is a waste of this committee's time and energy, and should never see the light of day beyond this committee as the Senate has many issues on its' plate that actually require deliberation and in some cases, urgent action, including in Seattle alone the 520 Bridge and the Alaskan Way Viaduct...actual disasters waiting to happen.

When the time comes, I urge you to vote no on Senate Bill 5197, and turn your attention to matters where your efforts will be of greater service than "looking busy" for the next electoral cycle and throwing useless sops.

Thank you, Madam Chairperson and esteemed committee members. May logic and fact triumph over fear and prejudice in all your deliberations.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

The Season Of the Weird

Is there a perpetually full moon lately or something? Grim, funny, or horrid weirdness seems to be arriving in bulging bushel baskets the last week or so...

From Slashdot & Reuters, we find an effort by New York to outlaw the use of ipods and other gadgetry in crossing the street. NASA has a truly weird love triangle in progress, with one of their astronauts bundling up in diapers and going an a 900+ mile road trip to confront her romantic rival. An 11yo girl is raped, and her rapist is found residing in an underground bunker half a mile away. Meanwhile, a loon is lighting folks afire in downtown Seattle, only to be driven off by an 82yo w/ a mean right cane, tackled, and pummeled by bystanders.

Going 'round the country, the deluge of weird continues with a petite 29yo shaving his body and registering to go to middle school, and then there's WA Initiative 957 that I and several friends will actually be gathering signatures for under the heading "oh? That's what you want? Let me give ya a big double heaping helping!"

Finally, let's not forget the boggling case of 1st Lt. Ehren Watada and todays mistrial declaration (new trial scheduled in March), where I'm ...startled...that things got to trial before this little bobble turned up.

Is it just me, or is the weird quotient a bit high the last couple of weeks?

Time to think about Elections

Editing somewhat a previous post of mine from elsewhere - if we don't like the candidates we see on the local ballots, Nov. '06 was about the right time to be recruiting candidates for an '07 run - however, it's still not too late.

In Seattle, for instance...

The City of Seattle has, to put it mildly, an undue influence on the affairs of Washington, and gun law specifically. We appear to approach an opportunity.

City Council elections are coming up..if you, or someone you know, is:

1) Pro-gun or at least not anti
2) Socially liberal or libertarian
3) Well-Spoken
4) Potential to be a good fund-raiser
5) A minimum of skeletons setting up housekeeping in your/their closet.

Positions 1, 3, 5, 7, & 9 (Godden, Steinbrueck, Rasmussen, Della, & Clark) are up for election. Steinbrueck, Rasmussen, and Clark are running unopposed. None of them, to my recollection, are especially pro-gun.

Godden is opposed by Venus Velazquez, profiled at in a PI article 1/26/06. Della is opposed by Tim Burgess (

Two candidates running for unspecified Council positions are Michael X Ford and Bruce Harrell ...

Last I heard a credible race ran an absolute minimum of 10 or 15k, and serious was more on the order of 100k or so. A person (individual, business, or corporation) can not contribute more than $700 to any candidate's campaign. Council salaries run about 100k, and the term is 4 years.

Think about it, and spread the good word.

Give it a moments thought - and then research similar local races and start emailing everyone sensible you know with the notion that they or someone similarly sensible should run - included as much fact in the email as you can shoehorn in, and go for the gusto. :)

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Methinks there exists a familiar aroma...

Specifically, why is it only now that Lt. Ehren Watada's draft-dodging fathers history comes springing onto the national stage? I would think that kind of thing would turn up in the most cursory of background investigations...

That said, Watada made his choice in refusing orders, and needs to live with it. Refusing orders, as I understand it, is a hobby indulged entirely at an individuals own risk - a high risk adventure, best indulged after long contemplation, and with heavy penalties attached if you guess wrong.

Lawdog and others address this better than I can, but the number of *really clear* cases where an order is unlawful is rather limited, and the presumption is that an order is lawful - so the individual is fighting an uphill battle before they even begin - though "I was just following orders" is at the same time a defense almost always doomed to failure.

"Under current law, and the Manual for Courts-Martial, "An order requiring the performance of a military duty or act may be inferred to be lawful and it is disobeyed at the peril of the subordinate. This inference does not apply to a patently illegal order, such as one that directs the commission of a crime.""

Simply because one is not enamored of it, does not make the Iraqi war or orders issued in its' furtherance unlawful.

To my eye, Watada is guilty, and getting into hissing matches with the judge isn't going to make it any better. He received no order to engage in criminal conduct, merely to deploy - his argument that deploying might subsequently lead to his receiving an illegal order is fatuous at best...the proverbial red herring.

Until he actually gets an unlawful order, he has no defense because he hasn't yet gotten an order he is legally entitled to refuse. Subsequently going forth and suggesting that troops should resist by laying down their arms, well...that's indefensible, soliciting insubordination in time of war - if you go down that path, you'd best not just be leading a revolution, you'd best win.

As far as I'm concerned...prison term, dishonorable discharge, given that we don't have a tradition of penal battalions in this country.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Monday Funny...

For some time Jonathan Coulton has been posting an original work each week, and more often than not Mike "Spiff" Booth has been using the World of Warcraft imaging engine to create anime video to accompany Coulton's works.

With that, I offer you Just As Long As Me, a ballad of mechanics from the Coulton/Booth ouvre.

Warning: Not for the humor-free.

Sunday, February 4, 2007


This writers block thing seems to be catching, but I shall persevere, and perhaps something vaguely resembling sense will emerge. More likely just stream of consciousness in an effort to kick-start something more coherent...

Was contacted today by a gentleman requesting I interview for a pension adviser position with a well known firm - not quite sure how I feel about that, as fiscal planning is wholly outside my realm of expertise, particularly when it comes to retirement planning. I can just about make it to "gee, it's a good idea" ...but he appears to think my customer service and management experience make me a good candidate. We'll see.

Brunch in the morning...something I was glad to revive when I returned northwards were my Sunday Brunches - little non-bar gatherings where friends gather and gab where we can actually hear each other speak. Corny and homey, perhaps, but I missed it and am glad to revive it.

On other fronts, am planning on popping down to the State Capitol and suggesting that an anti-gun show bill is a bad idea on a number of fronts ranging from "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" and on to notions of "Freedom of Assembly", erroneous assumptions, and "making law for the sake of looking busy is a bad notion".

The City of Seattle is on another of its crusades to make life unpleasant - replacing the 6 lane Alaskan Way Viaduct (seismic issues, BIG seismic issues) with a tunnel (originally proposed at 6 lanes and shot down as "costing too bloody much") with 4 traffic lanes...umm...can we say *gridlock*...of course, this is a city that actively discourages building parking facilities on the theory that if driving is sufficiently miserable then folks will be compelled to use public transit - failing to realize that folks and businesses have another option..."move someplace friendlier"...

Just read "Final Target" from John Birmingham, an interesting near-future military SF tale based on "take large U.S.-led multi-national naval task force circa 2071'ish and transplant to 1941", and see how two radically different era's interact with accompanying military and social implications.

One of the more subversive ways of teaching history, in my opinion, is slipping it into popular entertainment. Good stuff.

Beyond that? Not much new, and thus my lack of new entries ...