Monday, June 30, 2008

Right-to-Carry in National Parks

The NRA-ILA has an article about today (June 30th) being the last day for public comment on the proposed lifting of the ban on carrying firearms in National Parks.

So go here and leave a comment if you so choose.

I did...
Given that the US Supreme Court found just last week that the Second Amendment to the US Constitution protects an individual right to keep and bear arms-and that the underlying purpose of the enumeration of that right is to preserve the right of self-defense-it seems extremely odd that part of the Executive Branch would deign to infringe that same right in the areas where it may be most immediately needed.

There are few law enforcement personnel on patrol in our National Parks when compared to urban and other built up areas. There is spotty coverage by cellular phone networks in some of the Parks also. In some areas the boundries of the Parks are not well marked and an otherwise law-abiding resident of a state that allows the carriage of a firearm may inadvertantly cross a National Park, thereby running afoul of this regulation. All of these are reasons why US citizens should be allowed to exercise their Second Amendment rights in our National Parks.

It is time that all of our laws and regulations reflect the common sense principles enshrined in the Bill of Rights--rights, mind you, that Justice Scalia emphasized issue not from the government, but that are intrinsic to every free citizen. To put it another way, we have the right to defend ourselves wherever we may need to and we have the right to bear arms to that end. Granted, schools and government buildings may be off limits (although that may change in time as well), but certainly our National Parks will not be harmed by law-abiding, conscientious citizens going about armed on the chance that they may meet those who would do them harm. Indeed, there is nothing in place right now to prevent the unlawful possession of firearms in the National Parks and woe be the lawful citizen who currently meets an armed offender within the confines of a Park without being equal to the task.

It may help to preserve the peace if the rule is changed to allow carry in a Park, but to prohibit the discharge of a firearm within the Park without such discharge occurring in the earnest attempt to defend oneself or another from attack. That is to say, to discourage target shooting or hunting activities while allowing for the actual self-defense priniciple of the Second Amendment to guide the use of any such allowed firearm.

I have faith that the Secretary will see fit to protect that which an oath was taken to uphold and that whatever changes are wrought, that they shall be done considering the best interests of the American people and their National Parks.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Signatures

In light of the Heller ruling today--and because these quotes also are cited in Justice Scalia's opinion--I thought I'd share some of my favorite e-mail signatures.

"One of the ordinary modes, by which tyrants accomplish their purposes without resistance, is, by disarming the people, and making it an offence to keep arms, and by substituting a regular army in the stead of a resort to the militia." ~~Joseph Story

"The prohibition is general. No clause in the constitution could by any rule of construction be conceived to give to congress a power to disarm the people. Such a flagitious attempt could only be made under some general pretence by a state legislature. But if in any blind pursuit of inordinate power, either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both." --William Rawle

"This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty...The right to self-defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine the right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction." ~~St. George Tucker

Update: Although I don't use this one as a signature, it really goes to the core of the 2A issue. It is the core of liberty going all the way back to Molon Labe.

“The right to bear arms has always been the distinctive privilege of freemen. Aside from any necessity of self-protection to the person, it represents among all nations power coupled with the exercise of a certain jurisdiction. . . . [I]t was not necessary that the right to bear arms should be granted in the Constitution, for it had always existed.” J. Ordronaux, Constitutional Legislation in the United States 241–242 (1891). (Emphasis added.)

From my cold, dead hand

SCOTUSblog showing that Heller was AFFIRMED by SCOTUS!

WOO-HOO!
Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm


Great news...the decision should be available in a little bit.

Decision was 5-4 down ideological lines.

C'mon stimulus check...let's go shopping!

Update: Justice Scalia's MAJ opinion here. Original District of Columbia v. Heller case.

Update: I'm only 53 pages into the decision, but DAMN can Scalia write. He is SCHOOLING Stevens. I think Justice Stevens may have problems sitting down for a while after this one. Whoo, Nellie!

George Carlin Tribute

If you have HBO2, they're running 11 of his specials over tonight (sorry this is late) and tomorrow.

Always loved his command of English...less fond of his strident tone in his last years.

I'll miss him.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"You damned, dirty ape!!"

Spanish Parliment is definitely seeking to keep Cornelius and Zira happy.

Actually, I think this is geared more towards Doctor Zaius and General Urko.

Great news if you're a Great Ape, unless, of course, you're in a Spanish Zoo...no amnesity for you!

It's in the brain...

This SciAm article refers to a study by Swedish researchers at the Stockholm Brain Institute that says
that gay men and straight women share similar traits—most notably in the size of their brains and the activity of the amygdala—an area of the brain tied to emotion, anxiety and aggression. The same is true for heterosexual men and lesbians.


This is not the first such study to intimate that homosexuality has a biological basis.

Personally, I believe such a basis will be confirmed as more studies are performed. Unfortunately, since the subject is such a political third rail in US politics, the real research shall continue to be performed abroad when it is undertaken at all.

Off the Grid

This Scientific American article is about a NJ civil engineer who powers his house, his car, his lawnmower, etc using a combination of solar-powered electricity and hydrogen.

He built it all himself and generates his own hydrogen onsite.

The catch? It cost him $500,000--$100k of his own money and $400k of NJ taxpayers' money, erm, grants.

He's perfecting the tech and has the cost down to $150k per house--check out his company website.

This is what I want!

This is what I believe is necessary to TerrorProof(tm) our power grid. Get every residential building off the grid and preserve the high power lines for heavy industry--like aluminum smelters--that require a lot of power.

It's the ultimate in a distributed target set. If every home/apartment building/condo is a mini-power plant, you can't take out our power.

Also see Honda's efforts in the same area. Note, however, that it is not yet commercially available.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Jenny Mac and Green Our Vaccines

Today, Fox had coverage of the idiots around the country--and specifically in New York State--that allow parents to "opt out" of getting their kids vaccinated. The excuses range from religion, to autism, to just plain stupidity.

Now, don't get me wrong, I am sensitive to the claims that vaccines may have a causal relationship with autism--my best friend has twin autistic daughters, so I'm very familiar with the denouement of those affected. Here's a link to a study on mercury in vaccines and the related increase in neurodevelopmental disorders--to include autism and autism spectrum disorders--published in the Journal of the Neurological Sciences this year.

That said, if you're not willing to vaccinate your kids then your kids should be homeschooled and kept out of public schools. Unvaccinated kids are liable to contract a plethora of diseases that vaccinated children do not. They may also act as a vector to transmit those diseases to areas that currently do not normally encounter those diseases--like hospitals, malls, and movie theaters.

The best and most level-headed approach I have seen yet is the one promoted by Jenny McCarthy.

This link is to a transcript of Jenny McCarthy's (yep, THAT Jenny McCarthy) interview with Greta Van Susteren on her Fox show, "On The Record."

She has an autistic son who has made a complete recovery. Her focus now is on a more considered approach to childhood vaccinations. For example:
VAN SUSTEREN: So what is the most direct thing people can do to help now? What can help?

MCCARTHY: You can call your congressman.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK.

MCCARTHY: You can walk to your pediatrician's office and demand an alternative schedules.

VAN SUSTEREN: For the vaccinations.

MCCARTHY: For the vaccines because really my main goal right now is to stop the increase of autism and I really do believe by delaying the vaccine schedule, separating them, do not give eight shots at once. Hanna Polling (ph), that federal court case that was just conceded, her autism was triggered by vaccines due to a visit where her doctor gave eight shots at once.

Don't do more than one shot in a visit. Do you see what I'm saying? Not to not vaccinate. Space them out, ask for mercury-free. Make sure your child is not sick before you vaccinate. Your child does not have a good immune system. How is it supposed to detox the vaccine? Test your child for an immune system. Make sure they have really good glutothion. Glutothion is your body's naturally antioxidant to detox these things.

So you can go in and I want people to go in empowered, to take safety of their children back into their own hands, ask questions and demand things.


The story was occasioned by a Green Our Vaccines rally that Ms. McCarthy and her beau Jim Carrey (yep, THAT Jim Carrey) held in Washington D.C.

As for those that just don't like vaccines at all or object on religious grounds, well, go live in a commune somewhere where the rest of us don't have to accept the risk of your choices.

You'll probably die out from polio/diptheria/tetanus within a generation or two anyway.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Lovely...not

H/t to Instapundit

The Guardian has the story.

Here's the important bit:
Blueprints for a sophisticated and compact nuclear warhead have been found in the computers of the world's most notorious nuclear-smuggling racket, according to a leading US researcher.

David Albright, a physicist, former UN weapons inspector and authority on the nuclear smuggling ring run by the Pakistani metallurgist Abdul Qadeer Khan, said the "construction plans" included previously undisclosed designs for a compact warhead that could fit on Iran's medium-range ballistic missiles.


"These advanced nuclear weapons designs may have long ago been sold off to some of the most treacherous regimes in the world," wrote Albright.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Nothin' up his sleeve...Presto!

Over at The Virginian, is this bit about Justice Kennedy's creation of law from the bench:
Not so with last week's decision in Boumediene v. Bush. You don't have to slog through the many dozens of pages of Justice Kennedy's torpid prose, nor even glance at either Chief Justice Roberts' or Justice Scalia's dissents, to find out just how much support this decision actually has in the prior case-law of the U.S. federal courts. Instead, consider this remarkable paragraph (at page 49 of the .pdf file; italics in original; boldface mine):

It is true that before today the Court has never held that noncitizens detained by our Government in territory over which another country maintains de jure [i.e., formal legal] sovereignty have any rights under our Constitution. But the cases before us lack any precise historical parallel. They involve individuals detained by executive order for the duration of a conflict that, if measured from September 11, 2001, to the present, is already among the longest wars in American history. See Oxford Companion to American Military History 849 (1999). The detainees, moreover, are held in a territory that, while technically not part of the United States, is under the complete and total control of our Government. Under these circumstances the lack of a precedent on point is no barrier to our holding.


You could not possibly seek a more candid admission that Justice Kennedy is making up not just law, but constitutional law, out of thin air. And a more conspicuous or egregious example of "legislating from the bench" would be hard to imagine, particularly since this time, the Court is not only legislating itself, but sweeping aside as unconstitutional the legislation actually passed by Congress and signed by the President.

(If, nevertheless, you actually do go on to read the dissents — and if you're wondering why Hermann Göering and his crew weren't permitted to assert their supposed Fourth or Fifth Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution at Nuremberg — you'll find that Justice Kennedy and the majority also disingenuously disregarded contrary precedent that is on point, most particularly Johnson v. Eisentrager, 339 U.S. 763 (1950), which quite sensibly held that such foreign nationals who acted, and were captured and tried, entirely on foreign soil, had no rights under the U.S. Constitution, and could not use habeas corpus to claim any.)


Well, I guess the best way to address this is to stop detaining the enemy and just wack 'em in the field. Prolly save a bundle on transport and housing costs too.

Thar he blow(viates)

Professor Victor Davis Hanson hands Pat Buchanan (Windbag Extraordinnaire) a rather complete refutation of Buchanan's ill-advised sortie into the Professor's area of expertise.

My comment on a comment there:
“Matt S: Certainly the results of the Second World War were good for the emerging United States on the world stage. But I think most of us in the States, because it has been our time in the sun, fail to see the indescribable pain and suffering of the scores of millions who are at the bottom of the heap.”

Yeah, like our defeated foes from WWII, Germany and Japan. Oh, the woes they’ve suffered as a result of our continued support and friendship in the four decades since that conflict ended.

I think a great number of countries in the world would rather be our defeated foe–given how we treat those we have defeated–than the ally of our enemies.

Far from causing the suffering of “scores of millions” (whatever that means), we have rebuilt and continued to support our erstwhile enemies even after suffering scores of thousands of dead in conflict with them. The people of Iraq and Afghanistan will also prosper and benefit from our assistance and friendship, just as Germany and Japan have, if they but embrace a flavor of democracy.

I personally believe that in The Shield of Achilles, Philip Bobbitt is correct in counting WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and the Cold War as chapters in an epochal war to determine what form of government is to replace the previously dominant form. However, I also believe that in American Jihad, Emerson has identified a profound connection between our current foe as represented by al Qaeda/Muslim Brotherhood and the fascists of WWII. Namely, that the Muslim Brotherhood was formed as the Middle Eastern “branch” of fascism–an answer, and ally, to the Italian and German versions of it. Therefore, this “Long War” has not yet ended and we are in a fight to determine whether the democratic republic or fascist theocracy will prevail.

As to our “moribund empire,” what is it that we get out of imperial “outposts” like Germany and Japan versus the benefits they reap from our association? Some empire. If our nation’s imperial ambitions are so overwhelming and all-consuming, why is it we haven’t added more stars to our flag in the past 40-years? Germany? Make it a state! Japan? East Hawaii, I say!

What a curious way to build a hegemonic empire when compared with the historical exemplars.

Professor Hanson? Thanks for wielding that sharp instrument and letting the air out of the windbag. I look forward to the next installment as I am sure you will have a surfeit of targets in the months to come.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Roger on SCOTUS on GITMO

Roger Kimball on the recent 5-4 decision by the Supremes to grant GITMO detainees habeas rights.

Here's an excerpt:
Writing for the minority in 1949 in Terminiello v. Chicago, a case about free speech, Jackson noted that

"This Court has gone far toward accepting the doctrine that civil liberty means the removal of all restraints from these crowds and that all local attempts to maintain order are impairments of the liberty of the citizen. The choice is not between order and liberty. It is between liberty with order and anarchy without either. There is danger that, if the Court does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact."

Alas, Justice Kennedy and his left-liberal confreres have gone far in converting the constitution into a suicide pact. Today’s decision is historic. Please, remember the men and women who signed on to it: Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter John Paul Stevens, and Kennedy. Remember their names. They have just made you, your family, and your country more vulnerable to attack by theocratic fanatics bent on the destruction of Western civilization.

Justice Kennedy’s opinion will appeal to all of the sophisticated “why-can’t-we-all-just-get-along” spokesmen for peace and comity who crowd the parliaments of the EU and, in the Democratic Party of the United States, are vibrating with anticipation at an Obombamanic attack on the U.S. in November. (Please pardon the unorthodox spelling.) Personally, I believe that the instinct for self-preservation is sufficiently alive and well enough among most voters to prevent the dégringolade that an Obama administration would mean for this country. Most people, I have to believe, do not want to see themselves taxed into penury. They do not relish the prospect choking the engine of prosperity with stupid bureaucratic over-regulation. They object to the erosion of individual liberty in the name of political correctness. They rebel at the sentimental invocation of “change” when it is nothing more than an empty epithet designed to reinforce the prerogatives of a big-government, anti-freedom elite.


Read the whole thing...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Wackjob Kucinich

Reuters has a story about the latest effort by the Dennis Kucinich (Congressional Wackjob, D-OH) to have the President impeached.

On the floor of the US House he has leveled "more than two dozen charges against Bush."
Many Democrats and civil liberties groups have accused the Bush administration of providing misleading information before the 2003 Iraq invasion as well as violating the rights of U.S. citizens with its warrantless surveillance program. The White House denies the charges.

So, what about that "misleading information"?

Wasn't there a Rockefeller-led Senate Select Committee on Intel that was to investigate and produce a report?

Fred Hiatt of the WaPo has this to say: (Via Instapundit)
But dive into Rockefeller's report, in search of where exactly President Bush lied about what his intelligence agencies were telling him about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, and you may be surprised by what you find.

On Iraq's nuclear weapons program? The president's statements "were generally substantiated by intelligence community estimates."

On biological weapons, production capability and those infamous mobile laboratories? The president's statements "were substantiated by intelligence information."

On chemical weapons, then? "Substantiated by intelligence information."

On weapons of mass destruction overall (a separate section of the intelligence committee report)? "Generally substantiated by intelligence information." Delivery vehicles such as ballistic missiles? "Generally substantiated by available intelligence." Unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to deliver WMDs? "Generally substantiated by intelligence information."

As you read through the report, you begin to think maybe you've mistakenly picked up the minority dissent. But, no, this is the Rockefeller indictment. So, you think, the smoking gun must appear in the section on Bush's claims about Saddam Hussein's alleged ties to terrorism.

But statements regarding Iraq's support for terrorist groups other than al-Qaeda "were substantiated by intelligence information."


And what did Senator Rockefeller (D-W Va) have to say in October 2002?
"There has been some debate over how 'imminent' a threat Iraq poses. I do believe Iraq poses an imminent threat. I also believe after September 11, that question is increasingly outdated. . . . To insist on further evidence could put some of our fellow Americans at risk. Can we afford to take that chance? I do not think we can."


So, Bush didn't lie, our intel is broken, and the Dems are willing to compromise on the facts to serve political ends.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Oooh, shiny!

New 3G Apple iPhone with GPS, support for Microsoft Exchange, App Store coming, in 70 countries by the end of the year, and the 8Gb model will only be $199!!

Now, you have to wait until July 11. Heh.

The Apple Store is down! Woo-hoo!

The Apple Store being down signals that Steve Jobs is in mid-keynote address at the 2008 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

That's means we'll soon have new goodness to drool over.

I'm following it intermittently at Engadget while monitoring the match between Romania and France in the Group of Death (!) at the Euro 2008 tournament.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The earth shook, the People wept

Paul Gravett has a feature by Coco Wang about the earthquake in China back on May 12th. Coco has turned the stories into comic strips that, well, better you go see for yourself.

Run along now and find a quiet place to look at the comix.

Friday, June 06, 2008

That thing got yer name on it?

So, via CNet news (follow the link in the title) you can go here and add your name to a microchip that will fly on NASA'a next moon mission, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO).

Notice the word Orbiter as in orbiting the moon, not landing on it.

Don't tell her, but I finally can tell my wife, "One of these days, Alex, POW! Straight to the moon!" I even saved the certificate with her name on it.

The deadline is June 27th, so go do it if you're a-gonna.

Santa Fe Brewin'

If you find yourself in the Santa Fe region--or if you're lucky enough to live there--head on over to my brother's place. They don't serve alcohol there, but you can get everything you need to make beer or wine at home.

And that's the important thing--make it at home. That way we won't have to look at you stumblin' all over the place when you're in your cups!

You can tell him I sent you, but he'll just laugh.

Gay bashing for Allah

Gay Patriot has the story on 10 muslim, ahem, immigrant youths who pulled a gay runway model off the runway and groped and beat him at an event on Queen Day promoting--wait for it--tolerance.

Comment #12 is mine.

Go read Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. It's an unvarnished, autobiographical look at the journey of a muslim girl born in Somali who eventually becomes a MP in Holland and lives each day under the threat of being murdered by islamic decree.

Then read America Alone by Mark Steyn. His tongue-in-cheek style is well-suited to providing an entertaining romp through statistics and quotes that portray Islam--and the West's inevitable demise at the hands thereof--in an honest light.

Pass them around to your friends, family, and elected officials. Oh, and have a nice day.