Saturday, April 30, 2005

War of error

Tony Blair is taking heat in the UK over the legality of the war in Iraq. This controversy has called back into question our reasons for starting it. The following excerpt is from an online article published by the Village Voice.

Like the Brits, the U.S. case for war refers to the intent and wording of the relevant Security Council resolutions. But the nut of the U.S. case is the president's powers under domestic law—and especially the Iraq resolution that Congress approved in late 2002.
In order to activate those powers, the president had to make a declaration to Congress before launching the invasion. In part, it read:
I determine that: reliance by the United States on further diplomatic and other peaceful means alone will neither (A) adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq nor (B) likely lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.
The prez also said that going to war would be "consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001."
Hmmmm. Seeing as how Iraq didn’t pose a threat because it didn't have WMD or significant ties to al Qaeda, Dubya's declaration looks suspect. But as the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20.
Yet foresight can be pretty clear too. "I am aware that the USA has been arguing for recognition of a broad doctrine of a right to use force to pre-empt danger in the future," the British attorney general wrote. "If this means more than a right to respond proportionately to an imminent attack (and I understand that the doctrine is intended to carry that connotation) this is not a doctrine which, in my opinion, exists or is recognized in international law."
And that's not all. "They maintain that the fact of whether Iraq is in breach is a matter of objective fact which may therefore be assessed by individual Member States," said Lord Goldsmith. "I am not aware of any other state which supports this view."

Posted by Jarrett Murphy at 11:08 AM, April 29, 2005

I am not so naive to think that every war is fought for nothing less than defending the lives of our citizens and our ability to govern ourselves, but let's at least get something out of it. If you are going to wage war at our expense, at least return some sort of national benefit. If oil prices went down instead of skyrocketing or the entire Mideast became more stable and peaceful that would be one thing. But this is just like flushing tax money and soldiers down the toilet.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Dang it I said I was gone....

...but I was giving the net one last tour around, to see what happened today. Well...Well...Well...

If you would remember, I might have mentioned that the State Senate of Tn passed a law that would allow holders of Tennessee permits to carry into places that server liquor. The story then turned to the State House of Tennessee. HB 2225 was the house version of the bill the Senate passed. All this bill had to do was make it out of a committee (3-D , 2-R). Well this bill did not make it out, even though it had enough sponsors to pass if it made it to the floor. Blake at Nashville Files has the round up. I even sent out a few emails. I though my calm logic would convince people I, really do not want to leave my gun in my car.

The story for HB2225 ends, but it is picked up again in HB0887, which it is basically the same as HB 2225, except that it is a little more broad in certain aspects. It makes it legal to leave you gun in the car at school, if you have a handgun permit. Blake again at Nashville files has this bill covered. Apparently...Somehow...Maybe someone did their homework and found out many other states do not have the restrictions TN has....This bill got out of sub committee against the wishes of the speaker of the house, Naifeh. Stacey Campfield, a State representative, has the details in his blog!!!! Here and here.

I will just quote the good parts.

"Speaker Naifeh was fuming and didn't know what to do. He yelled at us “PUT DOWN YOUR HANDS!!” He then tried to move on again.

Rep. Hargett was then recognized and stood up and said “Mr. Speaker I must object-point of order…”. Naifeh interrupted him--“I thought you wanted to speak on the next motion! You don't want to do this!!”"


"Later Rep. Casada was recognized again. He said something like “Mr. Speaker, under parliamentary procedure I invoke rule 40.”

The Speaker and his staff did not know what to do. They grabbed their procedure and law books and huddled. About 5 minutes passed."


There had to be a vote to send it back to the subcommittee where it could be killed or let it move to full committee. Sending it back might be considered a vote against the bill, in other words an “anti-NRA” vote.

To let the bill move on we needed a 2/3 vote-66 votes.

The vote was 47 for, 42 against. It's going back to subcommittee."

Bill Hobbs has more.

If this bill makes it out of the sub committee again, it probably will make it to the floor, and I will have the bill I want passed anyways. We will just have to get the State senate to pass the companion bill.

via Blake



I will be traveling this weekend. The trip will be starting in about an hour, I suspect that I will begin posting sometime on next Tuesday or maybe even later.


Thursday, April 28, 2005

Bush Signs Bill to Let Parents Strip DVDs

Source: "The legislation came about because Hollywood studios and directors had sued to stop the manufacture and distribution of such electronic devices for DVD players. The movies' creators had argued that changing the content — even when it is considered offensive — would violate their copyrights."

I can see hollywood's point. The Hollywood studios are not really trying to fill you house with smut, if you do you want it. They are just trying to stop a dangerous precedent (or what they think is a dangerous precedent) from being put into place. That is the downside for them, but they fail to see the upside.

There are some positive effects for Hollywood if they allow this technology. Whenever the religious right brings up the smut they produce, all they have to do is point to filter technology like this. That would put the responsibility of making sure the smut does not reach the kids on the parents where it belongs and allows Hollywood to make what every type of movies they see fit.

"Critics of the bill have argued it was aimed at helping one company, Utah-based ClearPlay Inc., whose technology is used in some DVD players. ClearPlay sells filters for hundreds of movies that can be added to such DVD players for $4.95 each month. Hollywood executives maintain that ClearPlay should pay them licensing fees for altering their creative efforts."

There is only one company now probably because they patented the technology and also because you are trying to sue them out of existence. Other investors are probably hesitant to enter the market. The fact is that ClearPlay is not altering anything, they are just filtering it. I could do the exact same thing if I fingers were quick enough on the remote, but thanks to technology I do not have to. Does the local water utility sue me if I run their water through a filter before I drink it?

Though Hollywood might have a case against these people.

"Unlike ClearPlay, some other companies produce edited DVD copies of popular movies and sell them directly to consumers."


5 things

I was tagged once here (by Justus) and here (by Of the Mind). I find this ....err... I am not really sure what to call it...a little tough.

The basic idea is to find several things that your friends think are cool, but you are not so hot on. I would find the question a lot more easy if were 5 things I thought were cool but my friends did not.

I have a wide enough variety of friends with different enough likes and dislikes that it is hard to get a common theme easily. My friends were gathered throughout high school (where I met sandcastle) and college, so there was a lot of personal change while I acquired friends. Other factors contributing to the hardness of this task is that most of my good friends are not close in location, so I do not spend a lot of time doing normal things with them, I could probably not tell you their exact likes and dislikes.

1) responsibility - Some of my friends have or are about to have serious commitments (i.e. marriage, army, or houses). I just do not dig that. I do not even feel responsible enough to maintain a dog, much less a house or marriage.

2) Moving - Since graduating from college and my first job, I have stayed put, but some of my friends have moved, some to other countries, some to other states, and some just down the street. Maybe I am afraid of change or maybe I just dislike moving.

3) Toys - Some of my friends have a fixation with toys (motorcycles, cars, video games, power tools). I seem to be immune to most stuff. I would like to have many toys, but I never seem to bother putting forth the effort to actually buy any of them. My only goal is really to do as little work as possible in my free time, so I really only enjoy movies, though I do not want to own them, just watch and return them.

4) Sports - I could care less for most sports. Every once and a while I will get a hankering to drink beer, eat pizza, and watch a football game, but that is about my limits. I just do not care who wins what or what they won. My apathy also extends to fantasy sports.

5) Memes like these - Apparently my blog friends enjoy these things, but I am not partially hot for them.

I pass one this horrid torture to stewardess and Broken Quanta


National Policy

I think we have been experiencing some problems that expose several shortcomings in American policy. We have problems that could lead us down some bad roads, and not much attention or action has been generated to ameliorate them. The first would be the deficit. I know where the money is going (two wars and tax cuts), but I don't think that much that fast should be acceptable to anyone. Over the course of the first Bush term we shifted from our biggest surplus to our biggest ever deficit. And this economic problem leads into yet more. We have the largest trade deficit in the history of the world. The dropping dollar should help, but it is offset by record oil prices. I think pursuing more alternative fuels such as ethanol would ease this tension. The technology has been developed, but the infrastructure for harnessing these ideas needs to be developed. And of course oil always leads to the middle east. We should develop a comprehensive strategy that will help guide our leaders in determining when to use war in place of diplomacy and what we can do to prevent things from going this far. It would be better if we could develop closer ties with countries in that region and provide aid and encouragement for them to police inside of their own borders. I don't think it we would ever entirely eliminate the terrorist threat, but we could reduce it to more manageable levels. And let's face it, we can't even completely eliminate it in our country (the unabomber, the Olympic bombing in Atlanta, and the Federal building in Oklahoma as a few examples). Since the collapse of the Soviet Union we have assumed a hegemonic role in international politics. We need to shift our focus and our organization so that we can better deal with the dozens of problem areas we now confront rather than the one Big Threat that we feared for so long. Also, I think that America should be more willing to step back and allow some things to be dealt with on a more regionalized scale. Sure, North Korea remains a threat. But perhaps China, Japan, and Russia have more to fear than we do. They should be the leaders in talks for that part of the world. Let us step back a minute and focus more on our problems. Like that bastard in Cuba that we still haven't knocked off.

Gun videos

These videos are from Valhalla Training Center.

Just some examples of the better ones.

Hostage Rescue with Carbine

Team Hostage Rescue

There are several more.


Your True Colors are Shining Through

Though Alphecca I learned of a story of a liberal's home being invaded while he was home. I have always wondered what a flaming socialist would do if confronted in this situation.

Would they cry?
Would they die? Or would they kick the robber in the Eye?
The last public case of a liberal being in a confrontation situation like a house invasion was of the woman actor in New York who was shot. This was a poor example because she was drunk during the incident, and it was something I found more tragic than instructive. This poor woman asked the teenager holding the gun if he was going to shoot her. Well...He did. The reason I found the case odd was that she was raped and had not taken the option to defend herself by buying a gun.

But in the case of Rick Casey I can laugh and learn all I want, because no one was hurt all that bad.

"We live in, shall we say, an urban neighborhood, with several popular bars nearby.

The house, built by a former Marine, is surrounded by a 6-foot iron fence with locked gates. Occasionally someone going home from a bar thinks it's cute to ring the buzzer.

A few minutes after I hung up, I heard loud crashing, then tinkling of falling glass. Someone was breaking in.

I have one daughter in an upstairs bedroom, which I checked first. Then I headed downstairs, where another daughter and a foreign exchange student, a girl from Paraguay, sleep."

So far he has done everything that I would have done. Well almost everything. I would have grabbed my gun(s) then checked the children.

As I turned at the landing I saw him at the bottom of the stairs. He was not a large man, a skinny 5-foot-7 or so. He was wearing slacks and a T-shirt, but what I noticed first were the tattoos covering his arms.

He didn't appear armed. I decided to act out of my anger, not out of my fear.

"Who are you and what are you doing in here?" I yelled. Then I called to my wife: "Kristen! Get the gun and call the police!"

I was grateful she didn't yell back: "What gun?""

This is where we differ dramatically. I would have already had my gun in my hand. After that point I do not know what I would have done. So the rest is just speculation. I would not have wanted to shoot the guy. I probably would have called my wife downstairs and handed her the gun as I got the guy out of my house.

I also would have never thought this....

"We decided, without deciding, to think not about the dread of being invaded in the night, but about our good luck that the invader was whacked out and without purpose."

That is exactly what it was. The writer was lucky that it was just a drunk and not an actual robber. I do have to admit that a big dog is better than nothing, but it probably will turn out to be a wuss just like its owners, so it will probably not stop a determined attacker.


Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Trends in marketing

Here: The redoubtable Lileks had a run-in with a BestBuy drone over the weekend:
At the checkout counter the clerk asked for my phone number. “Why?” I said. I hate this new wrinkle. I just hate it. I hate the fact that I can’t buy a frickin’ candy bar without a procedure that rivals a mortgage application. I’m always interested in the rationale they give.

“We need the phone number before we can let the merchandise leave the store,” the clerk said. Practiced response, right out of the employee handbook.

And Here:And A Hearty Fuck You Goes To...

The Best Buy Corporation,

For adamantly refusing to sell me a radio unless I gave them my name and address.

Here's how it shook out:

My sweety, the beautiful and formidable geeketteWithA9mm dropped into Best Buy last week to pick up my declared desire for a birthday present, a Sirius Satellite Radio to keep me company on the weekly long hauls back and forth between Freedom House & Corporate HQ.

Not being certain which one I wanted, she took the saleman's advice and snagged me a $200 BestBuy Gift Card.

Here's a rough transcript of my interaction with the cashier & subsequent managers:

Chipper Teenage Cashier Girl: "May I have your phone number?"

This is common enough at a lot of places. Retailers want keys to link together purchases, and can mine a lot of information on buying trends and purchase patterns if they can define a household in a granular manner. This is also the purpose behind most grocery store discount cards. For the most part, this is a fairly benign activity, requiring the voluntary cooperation of the consumer. It's also an activity that I routinely decline to participate in.

Me {out of long habit}: "Nope. I don't give that out."



"Sense of Community"

Several schools are making attempts to stop school "tragedies like last month's deadly shooting in Red Lake, Minnesota." The are creating crime stopper programs in their own schools. Some people (i.e. "Education professionals") "fear such policies could create a climate of distrust in schools and turn students against each other."

"There are very few things that I can think of that would be more effective at destroying that sense of community," said Bruce Marlowe, an education psychology professor at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island."

Well, lets see if I can explain this to you. There is a good sense of community and a bad sense of community. Sorta like good touching and bad touching. An example of a "bad sense of community" is where gang members seek to protect each other, instead of the larger social community they live in. Another example would be where students are afraid to speak up when one of their friends is going to possible kill other members of their community. That is a misplaced sense of loyalty and community.

Unfortunately, crime stopper programs have become common place and socially acceptable, so I do not see how you can argue against having those programs in a school, when the student sees advertisements on TV for solving crimes. It would seem that you are applying a double standard between schools and the regular world and that cannot be healthy.

Though I could be possibly convinced that all crime watcher programs should be phased and students should be "taught to speak up without being offered a reward."

"Frank Farley, an educational psychology professor at Temple University in Philadelphia, said students should be taught to speak up without being offered a reward.

"This idea of surveillance -- there's something unsavory there," Farley said. "We're familiar with the history of that in the former Soviet Union and Nazi Germany." He added: "I think it's bad civics.""

I wonder if crime stopper programs are really that effective? That might also be another argument that I would be sympathetic to, concerning this issue.


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Oklahoma Land Run Day

An actual memo sent inside one of OK's schools.

TO: Principals
FROM: Jean Froman, Coordinator Indian Pupil Education
DATE: April 22, 2005
SUBJECT: Oklahoma Land Run Day April 22, 2005

The Oklahoma Land Run Day, April 22, 2005, marks a historical event in the history of Oklahoma’s statehood and you may have planned activities for this day. The sensitive topic of re-allotment of Indian lands is important to our parents.

In your celebrations commemorating the Land Run, please acknowledge the following:

1. Teach your students that Oklahoma’s development including the land runs in Oklahoma and the forced allotments in Eastern Oklahoma came at a high price to Indian peoples’ rights.

2. A more balanced view of this topic gives a broader perspective on history and an understanding of the struggles of Indians that continue today.

3. The contributions of Indian people in Oklahoma does not take away from the non-Indians’ contribution to building our state. Oklahoma history celebrates diversity. Our children grow to be better informed citizens by being aware of how other people are different from them, and learn to respect the differences.

In your plans for this commemoration activity, we appreciate your consideration of offering the contributions of the Indian population and their significance to the Oklahoma Land Run.

Thank You,
Jean Froman

Monday, April 25, 2005

"A crushing blow"

Source: "This much is certain: an Iranian bomb would be a crushing setback for President Bush, whose doctrine of "pre-emption" is based on the policy of keeping the world's most dangerous weapons out of the hands of the world's most dangerous people."

Well, since we really have not followed the "pre-emption" doctrine yet in Iran, I do not see how this would be a "crushing setback". Pre-emption, I thought, was attacking someone before they attacked us, which since we have not attacked Iran yet, that statement does not make sense.

Secondly, America has only used the UN and Europe to get Iran to stop with the nukes, because we know they cannot touch us yet. While they could bomb Europe with a nuke as soon as they get one. So if Iran gets a nuke, it should reflect badly on Europe, not the US. Of course, Europe still will blame the US, but that will be just shifting blame from their selves, Russia, Libya, North Korean, Pakistan, and China, who have all helped in some small way to get Iran their nukes.

Now if we attack Iran with an actual army, and they still get nukes, I would agree that it would be a setback for Bush.

"“This administration's entire foreign policy, in the name of which we have fought two wars, in Afghanistan and in Iraq, would look hollow,” said Walter Russell Mead (search), a senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations.

“I think it's a realistic threat that Iran could give nuclear weapons to terrorists,” Mead said.

So lets go ahead and attack them to stop that, or lets just let them get nukes so we can criticize the president.

"The nightmare does not end with Iran passing an atomic bomb to terrorists. Iran already has missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads that could strike Israel and even Europe.
Biden said the tension surrounding Iran nears Cold War proportions.

“It ratchets up everything,” Biden said. “It makes the neighborhood a hell of a lot more dangerous.”"

Not really for the US. The mainland is probably ok, because it should be hard to get nukes inside the border, though Alaska is probably screwed and any interests overseas are also probably screwed. Though many of our major interests are in Europe, so in effect they are screwed by our interests being screwed.

Basically, if Iran gets nukes they are going to use them. Our best bets are to make sure that they cannot hit use and we can shoot down their missiles to protect Europe (We can backcharge them for the service later probably.)


Thank you sir may I have another...


Source:"The Fulton County Sheriff's office says it's considering changes in the number of deputies escorting prisoners and the procedures they follow — but for now, there's no plan to make security decisions based on officers' gender or strength."

You would have hoped they might have learned their lesson. I hope that a woman is strong enough to stand up to her boss when he puts her in a harmful situation.


Sunday, April 24, 2005

Million dollar ideas

Feel free to steal them at your own risk.

Doggie car wash
This was thought up while talking to stewardess during the TV...errr... dog sitting week. The concept is to put a dog into something that automatically washes and drys it within about 5 mins. You can use it every single time you dog goes out, if they are a digger. I was thing more of a dishwashing type thing, with only the dogs head poking out. If one could be built robust enough, it could be used commercially at shelters.

Solar-powered scooter via Riding Sun
Not really much to say here. It seems like a great idea, and it seems to be working. I know a few people who could use one of these.

And I had another one, but I forgot it. I will update if I remember it.

update: This one is probably not worth a million, though it is an idea. In my truck, the blinker sounds like it is all the way over by the passenger. Whether I am turning left or right, it ALWAYS sounds to the right of me. So I would make the sound of the blinker correspond to the direction the blinker was clicked. I would also think that you could position speakers in the headrest so only the driver would hear it. I think that would be cool.

Secondly, my left blinker blinks about twice as fast as my right blinker, which that just started today and reminded me of the nearly million dollar idea.

update: My tail light was out, that is why it was blinking twice as fast. My truck was trying to tell me somthing.


Friday, April 22, 2005


You know I am not a big basher of Microsoft. It is kinda hard justifying bashing a company that writes software you use everyday, writes software you use to build your own software, and writes software I have invested much time and energy into learning.

That being said, I installed a third party software package on my work computer and it broke part of internet explorer. When ever I right click on a link and click on "Open new window", it would pop up a blank window. I tried several things to fix this. I even reinstalled Internet explorer from a install package some of the network guys at work had created and nothing fixed it.

So I downloaded fire fox. Wow it is done very well and I love the tab feature. You can have a 100 windows open, but it only looks like one if you have the main window minimized.

Download firefox, you will love it.


Dean says

Dean says: "An American pullout could endanger the United States in any of three ways, Dean said: by leaving a Shiite theocracy worse than that in Iran, which he called a more serious threat than Iraq ever was; by creating an independent Kurdistan in the north, with destabilizing effects on neighboring Kurdish regions of Turkey, Iran and Syria, and by making the Sunni Triangle a magnet for Islamic terrorists similar to the former Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. "That's where Al Qaida will set up," he said."

I agree with Dean on this first point. An angry Iraq along with an angry Iran would not help America at all. It would also not make sense in light of one of the reasons I feel we went into Iraq in the first place. Iraq was failing to be a counter weight to Iran, so having them on the both sides would hurt, not just us, but the world.

The second reasons is bunk. It might "destabilize" Turkey, Iran, and Syria. It would be sad to see Turkey brought down with Iran and Syria, but seeing both Iran and Syria destablized probably would be a good thing. Though the cost in human life and suffering would be immense, the Kurds do deserve their own country, but only they can pay that price.

The third reason makes even less sense. All of "Al Qaida" will go there??? Well....hmmm.....that is better than having them spread out over the whole of Iraq. We would at least know where to drop the nukes.

The title of the article is "Howard Dean warns of danger in Iraq pullout".

Dean says:""Now that we're there, we're there and we can't get out," he told an audience of nearly 1,000 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. "The president has created an enormous security problem for the United States where none existed before. But I hope the president is incredibly successful with his policy now that he's there.""

The thing is that in the 2004 election were there and could not leave also. The only things that have changed between the election and now are successful elections in both Afghanistan and Iraq. The only thing I have to say to Dean, is that he should be careful of what he wishes for. If Bush is "incredibly successful", it makes the democrats look bad.

via Drudge


Thursday, April 21, 2005

Kids and After-school Time: Filling the Void

Articles like these piss me off.

"There's a three-hour-or-so slice of late afternoon that puzzles me: the hours after school lets out and before the family gathers for dinner.
What are kids supposed to do during this time, anyway? "

The article starts off innocent enough, but really it is trying to create a problem where none exists, in my opinion. Kids are kids and should be kids, not some version of an adult that works just as much as adults do. I have met those people who have grown up way to busy and way to driven to do something, in some cases i have traced back the disorder to the early childhood years.

"We call them latchkey kids. The term derives from the image of young children carrying house keys on strings around their necks or in their pockets. When school ends, they make their way home alone and let themselves into an empty house. What they do after that is between them and the cat.
Bad stuff happens
The Christian Science Monitor says juvenile crime peaks during the after-school hours. And according to a report from the National Safe Kids Campaign, 4.5 million children are injured in their homes every year, most of them kids who are unsupervised after school.

Personally, I don't need numbers. I picture a child between the ages of 6 and 12 coming home alone, and instantly my mind fills with catastrophic images. This can't be any parent's preferred choice. There must be a better solution. But whose problem is it, anyway? "

Me too....No not really. The only reason that you cannot stand your child having free time (or free choice) is because you are a controlling liberal mother. I actually do not know if this person is a woman or not, but as an experiment i am going to check the name of the author. (tick, tick, tick) I am back. Well I was wrong. It is a guy who "is author of the critically acclaimed memoir West of Kabul, East of New York and 38 nonfiction books for children."

On to the next assumption...Raising images of kids committing crimes and kids getting injured is a good way to force feed your next suggestion down the throats of parents. I have not read any further than the first page, but I am willing to bet that he might suggest the government getting involved.

"In short, keeping kids happy and safe after school is a problem that applies to every type of parent, including minimum-wagers, part-timers, full-time wage earners, salaried professionals, entrepreneurs, independent consultants, or people in business for themselves. "

He did not quite drop the miracle idea on the second page, but he did spend the time talking about after school care and its problems.

"Part III: What kids want

If after-school care is a national need, like clean air and good highways, do we need a national after-school program?

America is already bristling with after-school programs, including mom-and-pop private operations, community centers, church programs, and on-site school programs, funded by various government entities such as school districts, cities, and counties; not to mention various national franchises like the YMCA, the Boys and Girls Clubs, and Girls Inc."

Damn I am good, but as I am reading he starts to move in a different direction.

"Kids weigh in

I didn't trust my own opinion, so I decided to ask some experts. I called some 9- to 11-year-olds across the country and asked them questions like, "What do you do right after school? How do you like it? How would you change your routine?" "

He asks kids what they want and he discovers that the kids have no complaints and discovers that most of them are very happy with their life as it stands now.

"No complaints
Since I already knew what I thought, I just waited with pen poised to hear it from the kids: "Too much empowerment! Please--not another drop of enrichment!"

I never heard that. Kids who had programs liked them. They wouldn't change a thing. Kids who went home after school and vegetated treasured that opportunity. They wouldn't change a thing. Some kids had activities five days a week and lived on clockwork schedules. They didn't mind: They were living a life they'd chosen. "

He then discovers what children do when they are bored. Watch TV!!! The same thing grown adults do. He then spends some time demonizing the TV. He calls TV "The real after-school menace ".

"It took ten-year-old Zoe Ching to reveal to me the full extent of my addiction.

"I used to watch TV all the time," she told me. "I would try to do my homework in front of the TV, during the commercials. But you can't really get your homework done during commercials, there isn't enough time.

Finally one day my parents said, no more TV on weekdays. I freaked out. I thought, ‘No more Nick? What? Not even Disney? How could they do this to me?' I thought my life was over. "Every day I missed TV. All day. I used to practice piano in the same room with it, and I couldn't stop looking over. I just stared at my TV with longing. If my mom went out of the room, I'd turn it on for a second. I used to hold the remote control and say, 'Oh, you remote control, I miss you soooo much!'

"But after a couple of weeks, I stopped missing it so much. I got happy. I wasn't bored anymore. Suddenly I realized I had TONS of time to do stuff I wanted, like crafts projects, like making things out of clay, like sports. In fact, without TV I was less bored, and happier.

"But when I was given the privilege of watching it again for a whole week, I watched it the whole week. If TV is there, you stare at TV. After a while you get really bored, because there's nothing good on, so you turn it off and say ‘Now what should I do?' But your brain isn't in practice to do anything else, so you just go back to the TV."

Her account chilled me because I recognized myself in it so clearly. Which brings me back to the latchkey kids. The risks for them can be minimized. Most of them won't commit crimes, get hurt, or plunge into drugs. They'll just watch TV.

But that's a good enough reason to wish for better. Don't get me wrong. I'd hate to see a national after-school program. Let a hundred flowers bloom, I say.

But parents who need after-school care for their kids shouldn't have to scramble and search like they do now. Good options should be just as available as schools, I think. Parents don't ask for all that much, really: Safety is the main thing. Kids don't demand much either, poor little tykes: Toys, friends, and freedom from obligations just about covers it.

That shouldn't be so hard to arrange, should it? "

See i knew he would get to it...Eventually. He has shown that children are happy when they do not stay at home watching TV through nice sweet stories. He then seemly grudgingly comes down on the side of a national after school program. What he fails to point out is that a every single person, whether they have children or not, whether their children come home or not, will have to pay for that after school program. As it stands now, their is plenty of opportunities for children to participate in after school programs, by the authors OWN admission.

Why he is suggesting the federal government step in, is quite unclear.


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

I knew somthing wet was in my ear.

That is what i have been saying most mornings for the past week and a half. I have been woken up by two easily excitable dogs every morning between 4:30 and 6:00 am since the 6th of April. Their preferred method of torture is pressing their nose against some part of my body and violently moving their head up. They also like to use heavy breathing to coax me out of bed (I admit that has worked a few times.) I can cover up with the sheets or I can cover up with my hands blocking their attempts, but they are relentless in the attempts to rouse me.

From Marginal Revolution, i leaned that "Yes, dogs can communicate with you".

I hope my tax dollars did not pay for that useless study.


Monday, April 18, 2005

Disturbing Trends

I read the news religiously, not so much out of interest as boredom. But everything sucks today. A registered sex offender admits to killing a 13 year old Florida girl. Over one hundred Catholic cardinals gather together for an extended sleep-over in Rome. Yet more Michael Jackson trial. Does anyone know where I can get some news NOT related to pedophiles?

What not to do after a defensive shooting!!!

Here is a link to a video.

A guy tries to rob a clothing store and is surprised by a clerk not willing to give up the cash drawer. (WARNING: DISTURBING CONTENT)

This was a very interesting video. In the video you will see an attempted robbery that went bad for the robber. The person who was being robbed was ok. I am pretty sure he broke several laws (maybe even during the defensive shooting) after he finished off the robber. You will also see some excellent gangster shooting skills. Videos like these underscore the need for training.

Oh...And the music is cool.

update: The word on the net is that the vid is fake. It is claimed that there was a large amount of muzzle flash, no blood, and the muzzle flash covered up the date time stamp on the vid.

You make you own call.


Saturday, April 16, 2005


I have a lot of time that I wouldn't exactly call free (as I am obliged to spend it in Iraq), but I would describe as "idle". So I have been reading a lot between X-box games. One of the books I am reading right now is about a social pyschology theory called cognitive dissonance. Basically, when you perceive that an action or statement challenges a belief or ideal that you hold your mind will try to reconcile them. This led to years of experimentation. One researcher named Elliot Aronson was trying to use this principle to encourage college students to use condoms when engaging in casual sex acts. He finally succeeded with a "hypocrisy" experiment. After polling college students he found that there was a prevailing attitude that condoms were a good way to prevent pregnancy and reduce the spread of certain diseases. But almost no one polled regularly used condoms themselves. He found that the best way to encourage use was to point out the conflicting thoughts and actions. The best responding group was made to produce videos encouraging the use of condoms. Later, they were asked to take a survey asking about their condom use in the last few months. 93% of college students began using condoms regularly after this. Their brains were processing information that made them appear hypocritical to themselves and they therefore adjusted their personal behaviors to lessen this feeling. We could do the same thing to young people. Pick a noble, yet often ignored, cause. Make it a requirement during some part of senior English class to write a paper or make a presentation encouraging people to participate in this cause. Then run periodic questionnaires in Maxim and Cosmo. Start with the young and you could change the world. People would start using public transportation, start recycling, stop pissing on the floor in public restrooms, start bathing on a daily basis and using soap every time. The possibilities are endless.

Why is it....

that webpages will take forever to load but the pop ups load instantaneously.



I suck at managing my taxes. You fill out this simple W-4 form at the beginning of work, then at the end of the year you fill out this amazing complicated form which asks you all the questions the W-4 should have asked.

The first full year of work, i paid around 700 dollars to the federal government. I thought that was a little much. I would rather pay around 1 dollar, that would make me feel that I was paying exactly enough in taxes. Just to give you an idea of what where i have applied this before in my life. I graduated from college with exactly the required hours, not one more. I thought this was a fairly unusual feat, and was quite pleased with myself. I would like to replicate that exactness with taxes.

So last year i adjusted my W-4, did a lot of work to make sure that i was paying in enough this year. Well, ok, not a lot of work, just filled out an online form with the IRS to make sure i was paying enough in. This year I end up getting back nearly a 1000 dollars. I am going to go back and check everything, though i used turbo tax and I really do not see how they are wrong.

There were several things i did not account for. Last year was my first full year of contributing to a 401k and the federal government changed some tax laws. I was able to deduct the average sales tax that I paid last year. So what to do with the money.......

I know that you have heard of Buy a Gun Day (or BAG). I personally will not be buying a gun, but i will be buying some training for the gun I have recently bought.


Friday, April 15, 2005

She is so screwed!!

"A 21-year-old woman has been infected by both the deadly HIV/AIDS virus and bird flu, the first such case in Vietnam, health officials said Thursday. "

Talk about bad luck.

via drudge


Thursday, April 14, 2005

South Africa

Keep your eye on this one.

Richard Tren is thinking about the future of South Africa: "The people of Zimbabwe recently voted in a general election with the result that Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party remains in power. Most European countries and the United States condemned the election as illegitimate, un-free and unfair, yet the South African government and Zimbabwe's other neighbours endorsed the election. South Africa's ringing endorsement of and loyalty to the Mugabe regime raises a troubling question: can South Africa go the same way as Zimbabwe?"

He details several troubling trends, he also notes the reasons why it will not become another Zimbabwe. To add fuel from to his fire.

South Africa has strict gun control. They have been steadily taking away the right to own guns. Due to it's history (apartheid), most gun owners where white. A south Africa without guns is one step closer to becoming another Zimbabwe.

Source: "In Zimbabwe, the essential pre-condition for genocide was unintentionally created by the British colonial government, through the 1957 Rhodesian Firearms Act. That legislation, establishing nationwide firearm registration, effectively closed what America's firearms prohibitionists have dubbed the "gun-show loophole." In fact, the 1957 Act closed every "loophole" for the lawful acquisition of firearms that lacked a government paper trail, because all transactions must go through a licensed dealer.

And the records of all transactions ( i.e. the names of licensed gun owners, and details of the firearms they own) go straight to the office of the president, Robert Mugabe"


Early Mother's day

Mr. T in "Treat Her Right"
A very nice video.


Do not worry we will not touch the information.

Source:"One of the reasons gun rights advocates hate registration schemes is because it ultimately leads to gun confiscation. If HB2414 passes in Illinois, many semi-automatic rifles and shotguns will be declared illegal and will have to be turned over to the police, without compensation.
Given that Illinois already registers firearms through their FOID program, finding legally owned guns that are impacted by the bill should be relatively easy."

Of course it will not start out that way. At first the police will probably just take the guns that people turn in. After the flood of law abiding citizens have turned in their guns you will probably not here much about new law. There will be reports of a few found here and there as the police happen upon them. Then one day the banned weapons will kill a police officer, it will not matter if the gun was in the databases of Illinois or not. The police or some other organization will push for the information that Illinois keeps about gun owners, and then it will be good night Gracie.

Ravenwood via Say Uncle


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

why i carry a gun

Stanko, 37, was released from prison nearly a year ago after serving 8½ years of a 10-year sentence for kidnapping. While in prison, Stanko co-wrote a book titled "Living in Prison: A History of the Correctional System With an Insider's View" with the help of two criminology professors.

News that authorities were seeking him in connection with two killings and the rape of a teenage girl surprised those who knew him.



Source: Sharp words flew Saturday when the Rev. Al Sharpton called a "town hall meeting" to let the music biz, the radio biz and the community discuss violence and hip hop.

"There was some heat," reported James Mtume of WRKS (98.7 FM). "But that was good. You need heat to generate solutions - to do something, instead of just talking about it."

Sharpton said a critical goal of the session, held at the Manhattan Sheraton, was to hear from regular folks who often feel the music industry pays little attention to their concerns.
Many of the several hundred in attendance said that's exactly how they feel, and demanded artists, radio and the industry clean up their acts.

So do they want to bring in the FCC to clean up the radio stations????

The only goal of the music industry is to make and sell music. They want you to listen and listen a lot. They have no obligation to do anything about your "needs". If you do not like the music you hear on the radio station, change the STATION. If you do not want you kids listening to the music, destroy all the radios in your house, or you could actually teach you kids some morals.

As long as you keep buy and listening to the songs you are complaining about the music industry will never change.

While we are on the topic of responsibility..there would seem that there are many more problems than what is on the radio in urban centers.

via drudge


Sunday, April 10, 2005

The Ultimate Fighter

Spike has had an "The Ultimate Fighter" marathon on all day today. Needless to say I have watched as much of it as possible. The amount of testosterone this show radiates is amazing. I think put on a few pounds of muscle, just watching the shows today.

For the uninitiated (read women), "The Ultimate Fighter" is a reality show where 16 different men compete for 2 ultimate fighting championship contracts, one middle weight and one light heavy weight. Ultimate fighting Championship (UFC) is a mixed martial arts contest (basically street fighting) in an octagon.

I do not know official rules, but the rules are played with on "The Ultimate Fighter" are there are five minute rounds. In the regular matches, there are 2 rounds, in the semi finals there are 3 rounds. The matches are over seen by the Nevada state gaming commission. The are compete with corners to go to between rounds and official weigh ins. Fighters can tap out, get knocked out, the fight could be stopped on account of cuts, or the fight could go to the judges. Several of those things have happened in fights on the way to the finial round, that will show tonight. There is no biting or kicking in the testicles.

The 16 men were divided into two teams of 8 men each. Each team was coached by UFC legends, UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture and UFC Light Heavyweight #1 Contender Chuck Liddell. In fact Couture and Liddell are the names of the different teams.

The Ultimate fighter is made up of a bunch of moronic. All of them are dumb as mules, but what do you expect from people who do not mind being punched in the face. The show does do a good job of mixing in the traditional personality conflicts that occur in reality TV and the fighting. Though I do not think this show could convince me to follow it regularly, but they can convince me to watch it for an entire day. It is filled with enough trash talk, it makes Mike Tyson's mouth clean. It is also built to promote the UFC brand, which is fine with me.

The latest twist that occurred during the show was making teammates fight each other once there were 8 fighters left. They wanted a representative from each time in the finals. So teammates who had been training together against the other team were forced to fight each other. The fights are fair and UFC does a good job of trying to keep everything fair and clear.

Diego Sanchez vs Kenny Florian
Sanches, tough, small, strong and compact. Florian is just a skinny white guy, though he is just as tough as Sanches. In the fights I have seen, Sanches has finished 2 of his 3 in less than 2 minutes. Though one went the full 3 rounds. Florian will be out classed. He probably will tap out in the second round, because Sanches is a submission master.

Forrest Griffin vs Stephan Bonnar
This one is a close one. Stephan is good on the ground and Forrest wants it more than Stephan. I think if Forrest works Stephan and wears him down, he will make a mistake and win. It will go the full length and will be boring to watch at first, but will get interesting towards the end.


Diego Sanches vs Kenny Florian
Sanches did win, but not in the second. It was in the first with an elbow to the forehead of Kenny. Sanches will show you a different look every time you see him. He will adjust his fighting style and stick to his game plan well. He is very impressive.

Forrest Griffin vs Stephan Bonnar
Man I called that one. Forrest won, but UFC did the right thing by offering Stephan a contract also. That was what I meant by UFC being very fair, clean, and clear with the fighters who fought for "The Ultimate Fighter".

Saturday, April 09, 2005

New idea

Those crazy Europeans have all sorts of crazy bans on advertisements.

"The Financial Times reported last month that EU Enterprise Commissioner Günther Verheugen is moving ahead with plans to end the continent's draconian ban on pharmaceutical companies marketing their medicines to the public. "

"Germany only recently lifted advertisement bans for lawyers or physicists. "

Is it me or does Europe sound like a con man's paradise? I suspect that many people in Europe probably would fall prey to the simple tricks that many Americans just ignore (either because we fast forward through commercials or we or to dumb to read).


Why I carry a gun.

"A man charged with murder after allegedly donning a bulletproof vest and tearing through two states on an apparent random shooting spree was wanted on a warrant related to a 2004 shooting incident, authorities said. "

This is the first post in an attempt to feed my paranoia and yours.

Unfortunately, there will be more.


Bomb kills 3 and wounds 17 at a Cairo tourist site

This is an very interesting article. A bomb explodes in a crowed market that is populated with tourists.

"The wounded - listed as four French. Three Americans, including the one who later died, an Italian, a Turk and nine Egyptians - were treated at Hussein Hospital, which was surrounded by police in full riot gear."

I expected acts of violence in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, which are more like war zones than countries in some areas. I thought that next phase of violence would spread to other more stable countries, like Egypt, where Americans might possibly be. Turkey has had a few of these attacks, also. The only other attack like this in Egypt was centered in an Israelite tourist area. I must admit that the violence in these countries is much less than i expected, which is a good thing.

I do not know whether this is a trend or just a random attack, but I find the shift in tactics interesting. I am assuming this is an attack by the radical Islamics, though i could be wrong. It is interesting how, since they cannot get to the mainland, they have just started eating their selves.


The cream will rise to the top.

In response to a VodkaPundit post on the subject of rebuliding the WTC, a commenter left this peice of work.

"We visited the WTC site after the attacks. On the plywood barrier next to the site people wrote personal messages. One of them struck a chord with me: it defiantly said, "It's still New York."
I like the idea to rebuild the towers. Yes, almost 3000 people died that day: more than the number that died at Pearl Harbor. Rebuilding the towers says, "You can't beat us. You can't even slow us down." The enemy attacked building that were symbols. Fine. Rebuild the symbols they hate.

I wouldn't put anti-aircraft guns on the top floor.

I would move the UN into one of the buildings."



Friday, April 08, 2005

Dog sitting

I am presently doggsitting for several friends of mine. They own two dogs who together weigh around 150-180 pounds. Instead of moving the dogs, i have elected to stay with them in their owners house. We have a good ole time, jumping on the furniture basically hanging out. They like to chew their toys and i like to watch TV. I have recently discovered that i really like CSI. I have never seen the on based in Miami, but I like the other two. I watched 3 hours of CSI last night. I really like it and cannot stop talking about it. My friend's complaint against the shows was that they are all the same and that is the reason i like it.

Also, this morning i was killing some time after the dogs were fed and i was flipping though the channels on the TV. I saw this guy: Cowboy Troy (sound with link). He is playing himself off as a hick hop artist. He is concentrating on the "hop" part of that title. Cowboy Troy is a black, rapping, country music singer. I love America. His site plays his single and has a link to this music video. If this guy can make it, maybe Eddie Glen has a chance.


Congress may extend daylight-saving time

This is the best thing i have ever heard of. When ever the time "falls" back in the fall several things happen at once. I am less active, i want to sleep more, and in general i feel more tired. When ever we spring forward, it is one of the best moments of the year for me. Whenever it is 7:00 and there is still light out, i feel great.


Thursday, April 07, 2005


So stewardess and I are planning on going to a wedding in Oregon at the beginning of June. Since stewardess is in Tulsa and I am in Memphis, needless to say this is a logistical nightmare waiting to happen. Flights, the girl actually wants to know where we are staying before we arrive in the town we are staying at (I am glad I asked what needed to be planned, because i thought were done after the flights), I have not actually talked to my friend since he told me he was getting himself hitched.

So i get an email from my friend throwing out some details and asking questions. I started off by asking what town the wedding was in (All i know is that i am flying to portland, and driving to the city) and what time on the wedding day. He emailed me back saying he was had been working on some basic HTML and he sent me a link to his site. I took a look at it and it had everything i needed to know, plus links to hotels he had gotten a group rate at and regional airport with numbers of rental car places.

There was even a link to a service that handled their invitations. It had the story of how he proposed (I was impressed), who was in the wedding party (real names, so that is why there are not links), and a place to RSVP at. This was also how i found out I was in the wedding party.

So i went ahead and RSVP'ed EVEN THOUGH, i had not received an invitation yet. (Don't worry I am invited, because my name is in the wedding party). I emailed my friend and told him that if he keeps his page updated, i will not talk to him until the wedding.

Oh yea, you can find your house using satellite images of the US: Link. The toggle to switch over to satellite images is, in the top right hand area. I found my apartment, though the links were off. I hear you can get a good look the white house "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC".


"I pulled out my own teeth"

I know you can never trust those British tabloids, but here is a story that i hope is not true: "I pulled out my own teeth"

TONY Blair yesterday faced a woman who pulled out SEVEN of her teeth after failing to find an NHS dentist.

Great-grandmother Valerie Halsworth, 64, removed them with her husband’s pliers.
She pulled out a seventh tooth over the weekend before meeting the PM in Coventry yesterday.

The cleaner, from Scarborough, North Yorks, has a gum disease that causes her teeth to loosen.

Under fire ... Tony Blair is questioned live on air

Mr Blair told her: “I can’t suddenly just produce more dentists. We have to train them. I can’t force them from the private sector into the NHS.”

Valerie said: “Mr Blair didn’t seem as though he had an answer.

“The ten teeth I have got left are OK. But in another month or two I’m going to need a dentist.
“It would be nice for somebody to take them out properly for me.”

I have a feeling that socialized healthcare was not the only reason this person pulled their own teeth (though i bet it helped a good bit). Sometimes the problems of the world are not socialism, but a person's own stupidity.

via Jessica


Wednesday, April 06, 2005


I have been really busy lately, and have not had time to do the 24 body count, though I seem to find time to blog about other stuff. I have updated the count with the last numbers. As you can see Jack is back to 2 kills per hour, while the total average has dropped a little.

Though it could see a bump if any dead for the nuclear disaster or the president's plane crash are added.

If you do not know what I am talking about you do not know Jack and you do you watch 24.


Another 2nd admentment blog

Of Arms and the Law


Piss off the Canadians.

No really.

Apparently there is this trial going on......And I started here: InstaPundit. Was caught up on the story here: Winds of change. Found the original post that kicked it all off here: Captian's Quarters.

Here is the basic idea of the matter: The Belmont Club

"[captain Ed of Captian's Quarters really pissed off the Canadians with]....Details of court testimony on a governmental scandal that is banned from publication in the Great White North. The scandal is about the use of Canadian government money, laundered through a private ad agency, to hire Liberal Party hacks, and is so serious it may catapault the Canadian conservatives into power. This incident marks one more step by the blogosphere into the realm of news generation as opposed to mere commentary. Captain Ed is well aware of this and adds the uncustomary (for a blog) disclaimer....."

Just take a look at Captian's stats: small dead animals.

I do not read Instapudit often and think that he has really has missed how much you can piss off Canadians by linking to captian's site.

That will teach those stinking Canadians to not join our missile defense program, we will blog and say things about you that you do not want said. Suckers. You have managed to scare a few that can be easily scared (search for Spooked), but others are not.

Keywords so that the Canadian federals can find me and hopefully sue me, that might send some traffic my way.

AdScam inquiry
Jean Brault
AdScam Justice John Gomery
president of the ad agency Groupaction, Charles Guité
and Paul Coffin, president of the ad agency Coffin Communications

You know what i love better than breaking stupid American laws, breaking stupid Canadian laws.


Tuesday, April 05, 2005

An apology for misperception

A few weeks ago I blogged about the evils of gun violence and the possibility that it could be prevented with stricter controls. I am a big enough man to admit when I am wrong. I pointed to the countries of Europe as peaceful role models. I talked about Germany in particular. I hereby retract any of that senseless propaganda that spewed from my keyboard. I would like to present the following unedited news clippings as the evidence for my epiphany.

The peace and tranquility of a regular Sunday church service in southern Germany was shattered when a man armed with a samurai sword and pistol ran amok, killing one person and severely wounding others.

A man wielding a samurai sword killed a 43-year-old woman and seriously wounded three other people during a service in a Protestant church in this southern German city Sunday, authorities said.

The 25-year-old assailant was likely an ethnic Tamil, as were most of the 70 members of the congregation, police said, adding that they suspected a personal and not a political motive.

"There are cut-off limbs lying around the church," a police spokeswoman said, adding that a man and woman among the injured were fighting for their lives.

A scene of horror

Officers "were greeted by a scene of horror" after responding to an emergency call around 15:48 CET, the spokeswoman said.

The attacker wounded one man in the neck, sliced off the hand of another and dealt a possibly fatal blow to a woman's chest. All the victims were Tamils.
The parishioners, nearly half of whom were children, shielded themselves with chairs as the man ran amok. Many were able to escape the church, running screaming into the streets, while police overpowered the assailant, who also had a pistol, using a tear gas bomb.

Witnesses given counseling

Sixty-five people who witnessed the bloodbath were given psychological counseling, the German NTV news channel reported.

A German church was last the scene of a bloodbath on Christmas Eve 1996 when a deranged German man aiming to commit suicide set off two grenades in a Protestant house of worship, killing two women as well as himself and wounding 13 parishioners.

That story linked to this one.

Almost two years after a school massacre killed 16 people, one of the victims' partners has taken state authorities to court for not having done enough to save lives. It's reopened questions underlying the tragedy.

On April 26, 2002, 19-year-old Robert Steinhäuser gunned down 12 teachers, two students, a secretary and a policeman within minutes at his former high school in the eastern German town of Erfurt. He then shot himself.

The bloodbath stunned the nation and left a stain on the sleepy German town in the state of Thuringia. A national debate broke out on the link between vicious computer games, which Steinhäuser was addicted to, and increasing violence among teenagers. At the time, critical voices were also raised about the role of the local police and whether they had done enough to save victims' lives.

Now, almost two years later, Erfurt lawyer Eric Langer, who lost his partner, an art teacher, during the massacre, is ensuring that the same questions are kept alive. Langer filed a case against the state of Thuringia this week, accusing those responsible for the police action on the day of the shoot-out, of acting too late or irresponsibly in five cases. Langer, who has carried out his own research into the incident and personally spoken to about 70 witnesses, believes that three teachers and two students died only one to two hours after they were fatally injured by Steinhäuser. Though there is no way of knowing if they could have been saved, Langer says it's incomprehensible that no attempt was made.

The lawyer has also accused the various emergency services of disastrous coordination efforts. "Each emergency service waited for the next one with the result that the entire deployment was paralysed," Langer told the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

Langer also described the entire operation as "entirely chaotic," with several students and police officers not even aware that paramedics had been allowed to enter the school building. Langer's own partner, Birgit Dettke, is said to have laid crying in vain for help for almost an hour and a half in the schoolyard, just meters away from policemen.

No mention of police failures

A 43-page investigative report compiled by Thuringia's interior ministry two months after the massacre, however, assumed that, "all victims would have had no chance of survival even if they had undergone an immediate emergency operation." Langer has slammed the report for ignoring the alleged failures of the police operation.

Nor had the report, which was originally meant to be just an interim assessment, been pursued further. It was only in January this year that Thuringia's premier, Dieter Althaus, commissioned his justice minister to open a detailed probe into the massacre after facing pressure from an opposition political parties and Langer's threat to take the matter to the court.

Bodo Ramelow of the Party of Democratic Socialism is also pushing the government to implement a tighter weapons law than the existing one, introduce school reforms and make more provisions for traumatized victims.

Book on massacre causes controversy

The issue has been lent urgency with the publication of the controversial part-fiction book "Das reicht für heute" (That's Enough for Today) by German author Ines Geipel. Geipel, who wrote the story through the perspective of a fictitious former student, has accused the police of inaction and criticized efforts by the Thuringia government to bury fundamental debates and questions that sprung up in the aftermath of the shooting.

Geipel, however, has been publicly slammed by both teachers and students from the high school where the massacre took place as a sensation-seeker. They have branded her book an "unauthorized intrusion" for her cold-blooded and chilling details of the crime.

Perhaps we have reached a point from which we cannot return. Guns cannot be completely recalled or accounted for. They are cheap, plentiful, effective, and distributed throughout the world. In times like these were shocking stories are mere curiosity pieces, the best protection against bullets is body armor.

45 GAP - 4 inch & 5 inch Models

45 GAP - 4 inch & 5 inch Models

"How do you give the XD big-bore stopping power without enlarging its trim, ergonomic frame? Simple you just make the cartridge shorter so it fits in the existing XD platform.

Introducing the new XD chambered in 45 GAP. This new cartridge gives you the same performance of the mighty 45 ACP, but the shorter overall cartridge length of the GAP round means it fits in the exact same XD frame as our 9mm and 40 S&W versions."

For my .40 caliber XD i can already by a drop in conversion barrel and go to 9mm or .357 SIG (and here), if i want. You can either adjust the mags (move the feeding lips around a bit or something...I don't really know because i have not done it, though i have read that it is easy) you have or just by new ones.

I wonder if i could keep the same frame and go to the 45 gap. From the info above, i would seem like i could. I think that i would need to change out the barrel and slide, at least. I will go do some reading and see what i can find.

Others are asking the same thing and seem to agree.

Though here it says....

"As one example, the Springfield XD .40 was easily modified into an XD .45GAP pistol since the XD .40 slide already has sufficient slide mass. "

Though their has been talk of not needing to change the slide due to a thinner barrel....I will believe that when i see it. It seems that the casing on the 45Gap is thicker so that...

"Note: the new Springfield XD45 GAP pistol slide is exactly the same width as their XD40. In fact, the XD40 and XD357 are both .05 inches wider than their XD9. You can't argue with Mother Nature and there isn't much difference between the GAP slide widths of the XD and Glock. "

"As one example, the Springfield XD .40 was easily modified into an XD .45GAP pistol since the XD .40 slide already has sufficient mass"

"#4. The 45 GAP works at much lower pressures than most other duty calibers."

"As I mentioned before, the real target of the .45 GAP is the .40 S&W. The .45 GAP will easily match the capabilities of the .40, and is a safer cartridge because of its reinforced brass and 34% lower working pressure than the .40S&W."

So my reasoning goes what if you were able to make the barrel of the 45GAP 34 percent smaller (or thinner rather), would that give you the 1.5 millimeter need to fit the 45 barrel into the 40 s&w frame and slide set.

I do not know, but I would like to know if it is possible and I would like a gun that all i need to do was change out a barrel to have 4 different calibers.


Meth, Pre K, and you

I hope you had a great week. Here are the topics for this Legislative Update.



Methamphetamine is a plague on our society. Meth is almost instantaneously
addictive. Meth destroys those who use it. Making meth creates a toxic waste
zone that is dangerous to everyone involved, even kids playing nearby. Meth can
be made in a kitchen using ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, chemicals commonly
found in products such as Sudafed, Benadryl, Contac and Tylenol Sinus. Meth has
reached epidemic proportions in our rural areas.

This week a bill to curb the production of methamphetamine easily passed the
House and the Senate and was signed into law by the Governor. The "Meth Free
Tennessee" act requires that these cold medicines be moved behind the pharmacy
counter and that stores without a pharmacy stop selling these products. The Act
attempts to make it more difficult for meth labs to get the critical chemicals
needed to produce the deadly drug.

The Department of Children's Services reports that in the past six months,
they know of over 700 children in Tennessee who have been affected by meth.
Children are getting burned by the meth labs. Children are getting addicted by
the fumes. Children are being put into state custody because their parents are
addicted to meth. From October 2003 to August 2004, authorities seized over
1200 labs in Tennessee. The US Drug Enforcement Administration reports that
Tennessee accounts for 75% of the lab seizures in the Southeast. We have to
stop this epidemic.

If you and I are a little inconvenienced the next time we have the sniffles and
need a decongestant, we can remember that it is a small price to pay to limit
access to the primary ingredients for the methamphetamine plague.

I need to learn how to make the durg that is in the over the counter drugs which are being bought to make meth. I bet i could make a huge killing. Since i would not be making meth, but the ingredants for meth, i probably would get caught by the FDA, and who is afraid of them.


The Governor's proposed Pre-K bill is moving quickly through the House but was
delayed in the Senate Education Committee last week. The sponsor, Senator Don
McLeary, is carrying the Senate version for the Governor. When the committee
began asking questions about the bill, he attempted to move it out of the
committee. The first time he tried, he did not receive a second and the motion
failed. When he tried again, his motion received a second but was defeated.
This week we put the bill off for three weeks so that everyone could review it
carefully before voting it out of committee.

As a member of the Senate Education Committee, I pushed to slow down the
legislation. It is a huge new program costing the state $270 million and local
governments another $100 million or so. We should be very careful about adding
another large government program. Besides, three weeks will have no effect on
implementation if the bill passes.

I plan to offer an amendment to limit the pre-K programs to "at-risk"
children. There are two primary reasons why I believe this is very important.

1. The state does not have an extra $270 million to fund the entire program,
even if we wanted to.
2. We must focus our funding where it will do the most good, with at-risk
children. At-risk children are less likely to have the family structure and
support necessary to enter school ready to learn. If we are going to help
children prepare for kindergarten, lets help those who need it most.

This amendment has been prepared and will be presented when the pre-K program is
discussed in the Senate Education Committee.


Judge Haynes (not Barbara) held his first week of hearings on TennCare. These
hearings are scheduled to wrap up on Tuesday. The Judge has taken a very broad
view of TennCare, going so far as to evaluate the merits of the Governor's
plan. Apparently Judge Haynes has broad authority to rule all or part or none
of the TennCare plan acceptable. He is looking at every facet of it. In fact,
the newspaper reported that Judge Haynes blasted both the Administration and the
Tennessee Justice Center for not coming to an agreement on TennCare for the good
of the state. Regardless of anything else he says, I applaud him for trying to
knock some sense into these two.

I'll be surprised if Judge Haynes doesn't rule that some part of the
Governor's plan must be changed. The question will be: How much of the plan
can go forward and what is the impact of any of the plan that is axed?

The State received good news when the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals announced
last week that they would move up the appeals hearing date from April 26 to
April 8. I'm no lawyer but I have to think this is good news for the
state's case. If the Appeals Court rules immediately in the state's favor,
the state can begin its disenrollment process.

It's coming down to crunch time on TennCare. I was in a meeting last week to
work on alternatives to TennCare and help for the disenrolled. We will meet
this week also. Nothing is easy but there are alternatives. Hopefully they
will become viable alternatives for Tennesseans as we move forward to provide
reasonable healthcare alternatives to needy Tennesseans.


Two new websites have been in the news this week.

Representative Stacey Campfield has become a notorious blogger. Rep. Campfield
is a freshman from Knoxville who decided to start an online web log (blog).
Apparently, some of his colleagues in the House did not take kindly to his open
statement of opinion. At least one of his bills was shot down in committee by
Democrats who did not appreciate his online candor. You can find his blog at:

This week, I received an e-mail directing me to a fascinating new site, This site is simply a compilation of all the news
sent out by elected officials at the state and national level. You might want
to check it out and see what your favorite (or least favorite) elected official
has to say.


Quote of the Moment: "The nearest thing to eternal life we will see on this
earth is a government program." Ronald Reagan

Thanks to many of you who have called me a pumpkin this week. I should have
known the story would generate some good-natured ribbing.

Thank you for the honor of serving in the Tennessee State Senate. Have a great

Jim Bryson
State Senator
Davidson and Williamson Counties


Sunday, April 03, 2005

Cloned cat

"SAN FRANCISCO — The fur is flying in California as critics spar over a Bay Area company that charges $32,000 to clone an owner's cat. "

My personal opinion is that this service is a waste of money. I do not believe the ethical boundaries we apply to humans are applicable to animals. In areas of using animals as test subjects for research, I feel that since they are not humans you can pretty much do anything you want in the name of research, as long as you have some oversight, though I probably would not buy products (like shampoo that were tested on animals). I do not support animal abuse, not because I feel animals are similar in status to humans, but because I think that kindness to animals is a trait that carries over into other areas of you life. Also, I feel that once you accept responsibility to care for an animal, you have made a contract between the animal and you. One in which another life is entirely reliant on you, and you are honor bound to fulfill.

This service is not cloning humans and they are not abusing animals. In fact, I am willing to bet that the animals they are creating will be better treated than the average animal.

"But some groups say the practice is questionable and the company is playing on the emotions of bereaved pet owners. They also say the procedure is reprehensible since so many cats that could be adopted are put to sleep every year."

The critics are grasping for straws. The are worrying about the humans and the animals which were not chosen to be pets. First, the people who can afford to have their favorite cat cloned are not going to go down to the animal shelter and pick one out. Secondly, if they are in fact "playing with the emotions of bereaved pet owners" they will probably either get sued by their wealthy clients (who have more money than sense) or word of mouth will get out and the company will tank.

"We don't know how long these animals will live or if they will have health consequences as a result of cloning ... And so you could have people that have broken hearts, and down the line, this animal, who they have put so much money into and feel so strongly about, who knows what could happen with them," said Crystal Miller-Spiegel of the American Anti-Vivisection Society"

Well I guess the only way to find out is by cloning a few thousand and see what happens.

If I had kids and our favorite dog died and this service was affordable, I probably would not get the animal cloned. I would use it as an chance to teach my children about death (because none of use are getting our of this life alive), then I would make them watch "Pet Cemetery".


Saturday, April 02, 2005

Terri blog

I do not know what to think of this, but i think it pissed off a fair number of people.

Judging by the 400+ comments, i might be right.

Terri Schiavo's Blog


Sandy Berger the document burglar

This is one of those stories that i thought I would never see the end of.

"Former national security adviser Sandy Berger will plead guilty to taking classified material from the National Archives, a misdemeanor, the Justice Department said Thursday."

And the democrats cannot forgive and forget.

"Many Democrats, including former President Clinton, suggested politics were behind disclosure of the probe only days before the release of the September 11 commission report, which Republicans feared would be a blow to President Bush's re-election campaign."


More Schiavo

"Terri Schiavo: Why do I Care?" by Shots Across The Bow

via Say uncle via Manish

Friday, April 01, 2005

Mail Call

I got this in the mail today.

I saw this today on the internet:
It's kinda long and I didn't read the entire thing, but I thought I'd pass it along in case you had Some sort of an opinion or comment.

Oh yea i have an opinion, though most of this is just what everyone else has said.

A little background

The traditional media (newspapers and TV news organizations) are scared they are going to lose their jobs because people will stop reading or watching their stuff. This is not true. They might stop buying newspapers or watching regular TV with commercials, but they will always consume the news in some way, though it might be less amounts than they used to.

The traditional media is still has a large amount of power, because the bloggers rely on other news sources to gather and spread the news around. While powerful, the traditional media has lost a large amount of informational power. Instead of a few dueling voices, you know have thousands of different ideas floating around on one issue. The traditional media also is fact checked by hundreds of thousands of people who then post their thoughts about it on the web. This has lead some in the traditional media to take a defensive stance, because they feel that they are being attacked. They are still in charge of the news cycle, they just do not have the last word or the most words, and that infuriates some members of the traditional media.

The ones who do not adapt will die.

"Do bloggers deserve basic journalistic protections?"

This attempt is partly grasping at the one of the last things that separates the journalist from the blogger and partly pointing out how much better the traditional media is than bloggers. I personally do not think bloggers deserve basic journalistic protections any more than journalists deserve journalists protections. In other words, the only time journalists use their protections is when they screwed up some how and they are trying to save their butts. Of course that is what happened with the bloggers, also.

"Given the explosive growth of the blogosphere, some judge is bound to rule on the question one day soon, and when he does, I hope he says the nation's estimated 8 million bloggers are not entitled to the same constitutional protection as traditional journalists essentially newspaper, magazine, radio and television reporters and editors

This statement will surely bring me an avalanche of angry e-mail from bloggers and their acolytes, cyber citizens convinced that I'm just a self-serving apologist for the soon-to-be-obsolete media that pay my salary. "

Probably not, i will just mock you from my own website.

"I feel particularly strongly about this now, at a time when the Bush administration is hounding reporters in several cases to divulge their confidential sources or face prison for contempt. "

A case of journalists wanting to save their own butts.

"Shield laws (and the 1st Amendment guarantee of freedom of the press, the philosophical progenitor of these laws) were created to enable the media as an institution to inform the citizenry, without government interference."

I love how the writer uses the fact that journalist have laws protecting them from government interference, when that same government interferes constantly. First by making laws, and secondly by forcing to the give equal air time to politicians, as the Slate article points out.

"Reporters in 31 states, including California, as well as Washington, D.C., are protected by shield laws. Most of those laws and California's in particular provide more protection than does the 1st Amendment itself. "

I think it is interesting how this person thinks that by breaking the first amendment, the laws provide more protection than the first amendment.

Reporters in 31 states, including California, as well as Washington, D.C., are protected by shield laws. Most of those laws and California's in particular provide more protection than does the 1st Amendment itself. That's why the Bush administration is pursuing its cases in federal court, where state shield laws don't apply. That's also why many journalists and several congressmen are actively seeking a federal shield law.

I strongly favor such a law, and in this climate we have to be careful about when and under what circumstances we apply and assert the journalist's privilege. If the courts allow every Tom, Dick and Matt who wants to call himself a journalist to invoke the privilege to protect confidential sources, the public will become even less trusting than it already is of all journalists.

That would ultimately damage society as much as it would the media. [emphasis mine]"

This guy really thinks that journalist are that important to society and that losing them would be a bad thing.

I think he should test his theory.

update: More blogger warfare.
update: via say uncle



No we are not taking about your body mass index, we are talking about bio mechanical interfaces or if you do not know what that means, then "brain-computer interfaces" will work just fine.

"There's a hand lying on the blanket on Matt Nagle's desk and he's staring at it intently, thinking "Close, close," as the scientists gathered around him look on. To their delight, the hand twitches and its outstretched fingers close around the open palm, clenching to a fist.

In that moment, Nagle made history. Paralyzed from the neck down after a vicious knife attack four years ago, he is the first person to have controlled an artificial limb using a device chronically implanted into his brain."

The article above out lines there different technologies which are currently competing against each other. All three work on the basic principle, but require different levels of patient commitment.

"For all the promise brain implants hold, there are some that believe they are not the best bet for many patients. Implants suffer from a number of drawbacks, the first being that they demand invasive surgery, with attendant risks. Second, implanted electrodes cause at least some inflammation of the brain tissues they push into. As well as obvious medical concerns, if the inflammation is significant, it can smother any signals the electrodes might pick up"

I think the complaint of invasive surgery is important, but can be overcome, with time. Heart surgery has only improved, and we have reduced the reasons for cracking people open like walnuts, something similar would probably happen to this technology.

"At the Wadsworth Centre, the laboratory arm of the New York State health department, John Wolpaw and his team recently proved that a hat not unlike a swimming cap peppered with electrodes could pick up clear enough signals to allow the wearer to move a cursor around a computer screen. "There was an unsupported assumption that to get that kind of control, you needed to implant, but our work showed that's not the case. These systems can do better than a lot of people give them credit for," says Wolpaw."

This probably one of the safer ones to do research with, because you can get anyone to use the cap. You can try it out one a lot of people and see what happens. Hell, I would like one at work so i would not have to spend time typing blog posts, i could just think them.

"While Wolpaw has achieved control many thought impossible without implanting electrodes directly into the brain, he feels a third technique, called electrocorticography, or Ecog, might have the brightest future. Ecog involves a smaller operation to place a small sheet of electrodes on the surface of the brain. "With this, you get strong signals, you can pick them up from smaller areas but you're not sticking something into the brain," he says. Preliminary trials show patients can learn to use Ecog devices much faster than electrodes placed on their scalps."

I would place my money on this one. The more information the computer receives the more complex operations it will be able to do.

Soon the lame will walk again.

The above article indicated that we would use the signals to operate machines, another article mentions that electrical pluses could move a persons muscles.

"The long term aim is to design a package the size of a mobile phone that will run on batteries, and to electrically stimulate the patient's own muscles.

This will be difficult.

The simple movements we take for granted in fact involve complex electrical signals which will be hard to replicate, Dr Richard Apps, a neurophysiologist from Bristol University, the UK, told the BBC News website. "

I think that is a waste of time, just give the exoskeleton to run with my brain.

This is where I was transporting an injured dog after it was wounded in a firefight with hostiles. The dog survived the attack. Posted by Hello