Thursday, October 29, 2009

"I carry a gun, because cops are too heavy..."

SPD is a really top-flight department...but until they become precognitive, the very best they can do is to investigate, mop up the blood, and fill out the forms.

All worthwhile, but not a huge help when one is busy being the subject of violent crime.

It's not ironic, so much as cleverly expressed wisdom...have you SEEN a cop lately? Even a young spritely one, weighed down with the ever more popular bat belt, could throw someones back out....45 Para (w/ or w/o gold plate, rhinestones, and salacious engravings) is MUCH lighter than 200+ lbs of cop...

Monday, October 19, 2009

FWIW, My General Election 2009 Endorsements

Dedicated to all three of my readers...

Off and running, in an off-off year we're not bothered with electing legislators (aside from rare exceptions), Governors, Lt. Governors, or a wide variety of other critters - we get ballot measures, some muni-critters, the occasional mayor, and oddball hospital board and port director slots.

Initiative 1033, to borrow an oft-used descriptor, is a "starve the beast" small government initiative, with mandatory donations to a constitutionally protected rainy day fund and a "refund the overages to the citizenry" provision - with the proviso that the citizenry can make exceptions by a vote. Problem with this is that it a *statutory* critter...and thus amendable by the Legislature in the first two years by a 2/3 majority of that august body..and by a simple majority thereafter. Odds are good it will suffer the same fate as the the similarly concieved Initiative 695 and be gutted at the first moment it becomes inconvenient to the dominant majority du jour. Nevertheless, I endorse it, albeit less than enthusiastically, as a *gag* "message" measure...a relatively subtle hint to our elected sorts that voter patience is wearing thin....

Referendum 71 is an attempt to repeal the "Everything But Marriage" '09 Domestic Partnership bill. While I'd much rather simply see the state get entirely out of the business of "marriage" and leave it to the religious sorts, limiting itself to *domestic partnership for all* with all the current legal encumbrances, responsibilities, and dysfunctions of the legal side of the institution - I don't see that happening, realistically, any time soon. The act was and is a "good first step".

The funky way Washington phrases such things, a vote "for" or "to affirm" keeps the law in force, "no" or "reject" repeals it. The arguments I've heard for it "but it will force churches to marry same sex couples against their tenets" (specious - have you heard of the Catholic Church being forced to marry divorcee's? It's a first amendment thing.).

To gently fisk the folks over at SoundPolitics a tad...

Unfortunately, laws affecting children, property ownership, health and retirement benefits, inheritance and a host of case law are based on the traditional one man, one woman definition of marriage.

And the same could be said some years ago of various Jim Crow laws. Simply because something is, or is traditional, is a null argument that things should continue thusly. The same can be said of equating "good" and "new" - meaningless mouth noises emerging from shallow minds, OR, more sophisticated sorts trying to manipulate shallow-minded sorts with inadequate analytical skills.

What harm is derived by allowing same sex couples to protect their children, their wealth, share their health and retirement benefits, and bequeath their worldly goods as they see fit? What good, beyond satisfying Bertha Betterthanyou, is served by denying simple equality before the law?

A few states have expanded marriage to include same sex couples while others have revised the laws regarding adoption, benefits etc. by passing so called "domestic partner" legislation. Senate Bill 5688 falls in the latter category just short of the Gay community goal of full marriage but it opens the door to all manner of law suits and legally forced acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle.

Lifestyle implies choice. In most cultures, honesty is considered a virtue - and the average LGBT person is presented with the same choice they have regarding gravity ...they can either admit to themselves and others who they are and live honestly...or bury themselves in self-deception, the deception of others, or both - and all the dysfunction that attends upon such a dishonest choice. Such a choice is no choice.

Acceptance? That cannot be forced. "No Touchies"? That is a worthwhile goal. It's called *tolerance*. As in keep your paws to yourself, tend to your own relationship(s), and should you feel a need to *comment* have at it - though you may not enjoy the response. The only legally enforced acceptance is recognition of equality before the law - the ability to enjoy all the privileges and responsibilities of a consenting adult with a mutually consenting sort in a long term relationship.

Much of what is in Senate Bill 5688 is currently available to domestic partners. It comes too close to redefining marriage and threatens my right to hold a biblical view. What's next, polygamy? However, I fully recognize there are strong differences of opinion. Many leading citizens of good will, including some in the religious community, approve of Ref. 71.

Again, deceit. First a little side step about "much" - equality before the law dictates *all*. Redefining marriage? Take it up with your pastor - other folks relationships are none of your business, so long as they are adult and consenting. And the "threatens your right to hold a biblical view" is simply a scaremongering farce - nothing in the Act restricts your viewpoint (merely your ability to inflict it on others via force of law), or to express your views publically or privately. One can only conclude a conscious or subconscious agenda of bigotry hiding behind rationalization of greater or lesser effectiveness.

Vote YES to affirm on R-71. And may the signers of the petition and the donors to the campaign be well-publicized throughout the land - let the sun shine in!

City of Seattle Proposition 1 - A massive housing levy. In better times, I might say differently - but with the city 60+ million in the hole, and the state waltzing into a 9 billion dollar fiscal black hole, voting to spend money we don't have is sheerest idiocy. Now is the time to be *cutting* programs, not expanding them. Leave this to charity and family, and get back to your core mission - keep stuff from burning down, blowing up, getting shot up, fill the potholes, and keep the streets clear when it snows. All else, for a city, is optional...and right now, we're running out of options. VOTE NO.

King County Executive - Dow Constantine is, by all accounts, a really nice guy. And I like his campaign staff - not only smart, but stunningly cute. However, he's more of the King County Liberal Democrat establishment - and King County needs someone to pull the flush handle, not more of the same. Vote for Susan Hutchison - she's been working in the non-profit sector since leaving the TV news biz, and doing a good job. That she appears libertarian/conservative is only a bonus - she won't likely be able to overcome the Establishment Inertia, but just perhaps she'll be able to shake things up and put a stop to some of the sillier antics at County level...say, maybe, starting by letting the Sheriff negotiate contracts with the Sheriff's department employee's.

Sheriff - Sue Rahr is running unopposed (NEVER a good thing), but thus far she's done a good job and advocated for public safety even-handedly, and stood up for her department against some fairly underhanded attempts to undermine her at the expense of public safety. Vote for Sue, but still...unopposed, never a good thing.

Port Commissioners 1, 3, 4 - it's VOTE AGAINST THE INCUMBENT real winners here, unless you have a special interest the port can serve, then who looks easiest to boggle/manipulate might come into play. Rob Holland, who I've met, seems nice enough...but too young, and too easily influenced from my impression.

City of Seattle
Mayor - we're presented with competent evil vs incompetent evil. The kindest thing I can say about Mike McGinn is that in his arrogance and certainty of his own moral virtue, he may do less damage simply because it will be easier to see his particular variety of really vivid idiocy early on, before it can do much damage.

Joe Mallahan, on the other hand, comes from a management environment and may actually be able to worm some of HIS variety of especially festive ninnyhood past the spectators and get it done before anyone notices or is able to do much about it.

Neither, if elected, will serve more than one term as the Nickels legacy will eat alive whoever is elected, and then crap them out on a hill of fire ants for emphasis. I'm torn on this one...the coin came down for Mallahan, mainly on the theory that the city can't put up with another 4 years of government of "because I wanna" and "because it FEEELS SOOOO GOOOD".

City Attorney Pete Holmes is a regrettable "please, Gawd, let it only be one term" choice, but given Tom Carr's performance as City Attorney, he's the least bad choice. Vote Holmes on this one.

I've run outta steam...but...DUMP CONLIN, KEEP LICATA...and Sally Bagshaw seems like a nice, if well-meaning, sort...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

On Referendum 71 and its' supporters

In the 2008-09 Legislative Session, the WA Legislature passed an "all but in name" domestic partnership bill. After a hotly contested signature drive, featuring a federal judge ordering the names of petition signers concealed (a first ever in State history, and in contradiction to State law), a referendum to repeal this act will be on the ballot.

To make it better, the way WA does referendums will mean that voting *for* the referendum will preserve the law, and voting *against* will repeal domestic partnership benefits. This opens a can of worms for all kinds of shenanigans.

The below is a recent editorial response of mine...

I have to ask - are heterosexuals so easily influenced and insecure in their relationships that the prospect of others enjoying the same rights as they do puts heterosexuals marriages in dire danger?

Is their commitment to their partner so insincere that it can only be preserved by denying others the same rights they enjoy?

Or are the proponents so flawed in their own eyes that they can only distract themselves from their inner agony that they must seek to control and denigrate others?

Does the fanaticism of their faith drive them to attempt to force us, a diversely populated state, to adhere to questionably constitutional (i.e., "God Told Me So" is inherently suspect as a reason for law-making) legal tradition at the expense of families, children, and communities?

Is it really necessary to legislate bigotry against the LGBT community, a historic scapegoat du jour?


Sunday, October 11, 2009

On Undeserved Prizes, and the wisdom of accepting them...

President Obama, he of questionable wisdom (and citizenship, and probity) and unmatched skill at cleverly and strategically hurling allies under sundry buses, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on October 9, 2009 - less than a year into his first term as U.S. President, after an ineffectual career as a U.S. Senator, part-time state legislator, sometime attorney, and occasional author.

"I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many transformative figures that have been honored by this prize," he said. "I will accept this award as a call to action, a call for all nations to confront the challenges of the 21st century." - Barack Obama, 9 Oct 2009

He'd be better off humbly rejecting it, and the award itself better served.

When an individual accepts an obviously undeserved award historically given for vast accomplishment for, essentially, "we sure hope you make the United States more European and self-emasculating" rather than any actual achievement - that individual is lessened, and their credibility diminished... tarnished by accepting an award unjustly given.

At the same time, when a committee gives an award such as the Nobel Peace Prize for, effectively "being black AND not George Bush", it tarnishes the award for all future recipients by ladling layers of political whimsy over what is intended as an award to recognize actual human achievement (rather than often unused potential).

The committee ill-served both the award and the recipient, damaging both. Obama made the second best available response to such egregious ass-kissing, and did himself and the nation no favors in making that choice - the wisest course would have been to graciously decline the Prize, and express hope that, after he steps down as President, perhaps the committee will be better able to evaluate his achievements.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Stereo's, Manslaughter, and Justice

This is a sort of continuation of my last posting, but from a more objective and less personal viewpoint. I posted this elsewhere a little bit ago on the same incident.


In general if you're involved in a situation where there's a body cooling or looking like it might be right soon...STFU is a good rule to follow until your attorney is not only present to do your talking for you. "Name, Rank, Serial#" probably won't get you into trouble, but beyond that it gets perilous as far as I can tell...

This principal often applies elsewhere.

Now, with that said -

1) I think rifle fire is an overenthusiastic response to stereo theft.

2) I think prosecuting someone for manslaughter when they (a) observe theft in progress, (b) firmly suggest the thieve(s) stop, and (c)observe said thief, having been ordered to stop, engage in an apparent "arming motion" is *ALSO* a bit overenthusiastic (even if said shooter utters "I didn't mean to...." subsequently. I say this even in light of our shooter having declined the opportunity to step back.

Right and wrong are not an "on-off" switch most of the time. In this instance, I suggest that while bad choices were made...they were made by all parties, and that the departure from this veil of tears of a car prowler (even if excessive) at the hands of his victim is not worthy of prosecution at a felony level - a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor time-out for over-enthusiasm on the part of the shooter seems a more appropriate charging.

The RCW grows every year...and seldom to the benefit of the public, as redundant and/or unreasonably vague/conflicting laws are added to the books in the name of "it feels good", vote-buying, or "looking busy/tough" - something this situation might cause us to consider. Is the *law* as it currently stands, dysfunctional?

What do you say

To an otherwise good, intelligent, kind, decent, rational sort that you thought was your friend, that is the husband of your bestest friend...the husband who has just described you and many of the folks you respect, care about, and enjoy as being no better than common criminals in a leap of amazing logical fallacy (aka, "guilt by association") of the sort you previously thought said individual far too bright/decent to engage in?

"Cooper said that Sheets told officers Hernandez turned and reached for the waistband of his pants before the shooting. Sheets took aim and fired, striking Hernandez in the back of the head."


In the evening, standing on your (at night) you THOUGHT you saw the guy reaching for his waist? You decided that this man stealing your stereo was a crime worth HIS LIFE. I will honestly say that ANYONE who chooses to own a firearm and "defend themselves" is as dangerous (OR MORE SO) as the criminals who own them to commit crimes. What an ass. Thank goodness we live in these here United States.

I thought rather better of you, sir, and hope this is a temporary and bizarre aberration from your usual principaled, logical, and ethical approach to people and life. I have never before observed you indulge in such bigoted commentary, which is likely why I am so appalled and disappointed, particularly when I am a member of the group you paint with this hateful brush. I am saddened.

I doubt I will ever mention this to you, just as I doubt you will stumble across this exercise in venting. I won't mention it, simply because your husband IS my best friend and biting my tongue is a relatively cheap price to pay for not hurting him.

Because, other than this apparent temporary bout of poisonous madness, I have come to regard you as a friend and a neat person in your own right...

Any time any of us start indulging in statements like "all are because committed " we leave the land of rationality and logic for the realms of bigotry, ad hominiem, and distortion.

My comments as a gun owner, Second Amendment Advocate, and (god willing, retired) civil rights advocate from elsewhere will be in my next post. This post merely is venting of a rather odd sort for me - disappointment and sadness, rather than the anger such vitriol usually brings for me.

Perhaps I'm getting old.

Dumbassery in the South

In a quest to prove that soon-to-be-ejected Mayor Greg Nickels is NOT the greatest municipal dumbass in the land (we're being charitable tonight), it appears, surprisingly enough that there are mayors yet more boneheaded.

Mayor Sallie Peake of Wellford, SC recently issued a no chase policy forbidding that fine boroughs police officers from chasing, on foot or otherwise, criminals. See her defend her policy here:

and then, after vast public ridicule, repeal same policy while trying to cloak herself in self-righteousness:

Yep...Nickels does have competition...