On Civility

September 7th, 2011

Tea Party Zombies

Oh, this is just lovely. A company called StarvingEyes Advergaming is hosting a Flash game called Tea Party Zombies Must Die. It's a first-person shooter that allows the player to kill zombiefied versions of Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and other Tea Party celebrities.

What's that again about conservatives being hate mongers?

At Least He Hacks Off the Bradys

August 18th, 2011

I was incorrect in a previous article, and I'd like to post a correction.  Steve Perry, the beloved singer from arena rock band Journey, is not running for the Republican Presidential nomination.  I regret the misunderstanding and assure the readership that swift punishment will be meted out.  There will be demerits.

As it turns out, the actual candidate is Rick Perry, shown here displaying some truly wretched muzzle and trigger discipline:

Way to set an example, Rick.

The Brady Campaign wasted no time putting the shot to good use, issuing a press release on the matter.

The Republican primary campaign has hardly begun and already it is being dominated by extremists. None as scary as Rick Perry who brazenly carries weapons — concealed and revealed. Even on the campaign trail!

Only an egotistical extremist would carry a loaded weapon into a crowd — encouraging others to do so.  Is this where America is headed? Is this the America you want for our nation’s children?

Heck, why not?  Let us not forget that Teddy Roosevelt was known to carry a pistol, and he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1905. He also kept a gorgeous engraved FN 1900 on the nightstand in the White House.  Of course, handguns weren't banned in Washington DC in the early 20th Century.  A modern President might find himself running afoul of the law by keeping and carrying a gun there.

Perhaps Warming Up to Ron Paul

August 11th, 2011

Tonight's Republican Presidential debate in Ames was, of course, little more than glossy dinner theater wrapped in the flannel shawl of politics. Heck, it was run by Fox News. Nevertheless, it gave us some clue as to the intentions and character of our possible nominees.  Some of it came as a surprise.

In short, Ron Paul rocked the house. We're talking Hendrix at Woodstock, folks. All the man needed was a bottle of Zippo fluid and a Fender Strat.

The most interesting dynamic was the running academic debate between him and Rick Santorum on constitutional limits. I disagree with Paul vehemently on his blanket hostility to the 14th Amendment, but I sure wouldn't have to debate it with the guy in person. Though he comes across as a little nervy, Paul is capable of delivering complex concepts in layman's terms, and doing so with real fire. The crowd responded to him, in approval and not, more vocally than they did for any of the other candidates.

Rhetoric Has Consequences

January 9th, 2011

As the news came in about the shootings of Gabrielle Giffords and Judge John Roll, I was sadly reminded that her office was one of those targeted by the so-called window war following her vote in favor of the health-care bill.  I'm not saying that any group or political stripe bears the sole blame, but we all need to step back and take a look at the rhetoric we're tolerating from elected officials, the media, and from some in our own ranks.

In the months following the 2008 election, I lost count of how many …

Poking the Bear

January 27th, 2010

In what was an otherwise predictable State of the Union address from President Obama, one episode sticks out.  The President chose to attack the Supreme Court directly, with seven Justices seated only feet away from him.

Regarding last week's decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, he said,

With all due deference to separation of powers [spoken with unmistakable contempt], last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests—including foreign corporations—to spend without limit in our elections.  I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most

The Liminal Moment

January 19th, 2010

Scott Brown defeated Martha Coakley in the race for Ted Kennedy's vacant Massachusetts Senate seat.  This changes the balance of power in the Senate and erodes the 60-vote majority the Democrats have enjoyed until now.  This is nothing short of a referendum, not just on President Obama's performance, but on the the 4-year Democratic majority and their agenda.  The brakes are on for the health care bill, cap-and-trade, and many other pet causes.

Almost tellingly, stock markets took a jump this morning, with health care stocks rallying.  One wonders if today's election had something to do with that.

The closing gap also …

Poking the Bear

August 13th, 2009

According to a report issued this week by the Southern Poverty Law Center:

Almost a decade after virtually disappearing from public view, the antigovernment militia movement is surging across the country, fueled by fears of a black man in the White House, the changing demographics of the country, and conspiracy theories increasingly spread by mainstream figures.

The "report" is little more than a sloppy editorial, citing no statistics or academic sources, and relying only on anecdotal evidence gathered from interviews.  Nonetheless, it dovetails nicely into the pattern of rhetoric that we've been seeing for the past six months.

The strategy of …

Obama's Deep Concerns

June 17th, 2009

So, there I am looking for our President's reaction to the unrest over the Iranian elections. His response? To express "deep concern." He made it clear that the depths of his concern were shared not only by "the world," but by Ahmedinijad, who he referred to as the "Supreme Leader." Great.

He's also "deeply concerned" about the fighting in Gaza, terrorism in Pakistan, and the two American journalists currently languishing in a North Korean jail. On prior ocassions, he's expressed "deep concern" for the state of the American automobile industry and Hurricane Gustav.

While he did all kinds of nothing, Hillary Clinton told the press she was "deeply concerned" when, for the first time in almost two centuries, pirates took control of an American ship.

Heck, he's probably "deeply concerned" about climate change as well, but I'm bored of digging up links. Point is, "deep concern" is this guy's answer for everything.

Who needs a filibuster?

May 15th, 2009

Well, we're past the First 100 Days, and if anything, the Left's perceived monopoly on power seems to be getting more tenuous by the day. President Obama wants a Credit Card Holder's Bill of Rights, so he told Congress to draft one.

This time, however, there's one little problem:

The Senate bill to tighten regulation of credit cards just became a tougher sell to the House yesterday after senators approved an amendment by Tom Coburn, R-Okla., to allow people to carry firearms on visits to national parks.

No, no, no! That's not how it's supposed to work! This administration is supposed to be the Second Coming of FDR, and this is the new legislative process:

President decides on an edict
President demands asks Congress to draft a bill meeting his wishes
Congress does so and submits it
President gleefully signs bill into law, without any messy hurdles.

That's the change we're supposed to believe in: an effective blurring of the lines between the Legislative and Executive branches, with more power in the hands of the Chief Executive than George W. Bush ever had.

So, why isn't it working?

Jimmy Carter on Gun Control

May 5th, 2009

The only Chief Executive to ever come from Georgia had this to say in a New York Times editorial last week:

(…) none of us wants to own an assault weapon, because we have no desire to kill policemen or go to a school or workplace to see how many victims we can accumulate before we are finally shot or take our own lives. That’s why the White House and Congress must not give up on trying to reinstate a ban on assault weapons, even if it may be politically difficult.

As much as I admire Mr. Carter for his humanitarian work, I really wish people would stop asking for his opinions on politics.

Of course, nobody knows the horrors of violence first-hand like Mr. Carter. Observe:

Jimmy Carter fending off killer swamp hare

If he'd had an AMD-65 with a 50-round drum magazine, perhaps the oar wouldn't have been necessary. To each his own, I suppose, but what kind of self-respecting Southern Baptist goes fishing without a gun?

Mind the Gap

April 29th, 2009

I'm not worried about another Assault Weapons Ban. In fact, I'm not worried much about any legislation. What scares me is a sort of scheme like this, which could stand up to post-Heller scrutiny:

If we can use a capital infusion to a bank as an opportunity to control executive compensation and to limit use of private planes, why can't the government use its weight as the largest purchaser of guns from major manufacturers to reward companies that work to keep their products out of criminals' hands? Put another way, if it is too difficult to outlaw bad conduct through statutes, why not pay for good conduct? Why not require vendors to change their behavior if they want our tax dollars?

–Elliot Spitzer, writing for Slate

I don't think this'd fly, but it gives me pause. Bear in mind that executive orders, particularly under an administration that sees itself as the second coming of FDR, fall into a gap where there is no real oversight. They require no ratification from Congress, but if worded carefully, they can carry the force of law.

The jury's still out as to whether it was intentional or not, but OSHA's attempt at revising 1910.109 last year proved that it's possible to stifle or kill the gun industry without passing a single law.

You can bet this is the stuff I'd be brainstorming if I was in their shoes. Here's what we need to watch for:

import bans
controls on manufacture and distribution of raw materials
controls on the flow of commerce.

Cybersecurity Act of 2009

April 25th, 2009

Some guy yelled at me about this today. People seem to yell a great many political things at me lately. Frankly, it's all quite tiring. Anyhow, this doofus went of on an unsolicited rant about how President Obama was going to "shut off the internet at will."

Man, I thought, I gotta know how he can do that. So, I googled (is that a verb now?) "Obama shut down internet," and I was led to the documents for the Cybersecurity Act of 2009. The actual bills are S. 773 and 778. The first draft is here [pdf].

I skimmed through it and found that it echoed almost everything I'd heard about last year's CSIS report. Basically, the report acknowledged a few things that should have already been glaringly obvious:

That our government's computer infrastructure is vulnerable to attack and disruption,
That you can trust Congress, who are experts on these things, to throw tons of money at it if you like, and
It won't do much good.

So, in the interest of doing something, Congress came up with S. 773. It's a really professional-looking, well-organized proposal that's basically full of hot air. And it's expensive hot air, too.

Still, I didn't see anything sinister until I neared the end. There's some boilerplate about funding, qualifications and clearance for Federal I.T. contractors, and a program of "challenges" to incite students into becoming code monkeys for The Man.

Next Page »