Greg Prince's Blog

Musings and pontifications from a reality based progressive

Archive for January, 2006

The law is an ass…

Posted by Greg on January 30, 2006

So said Charles Dickens in Oliver Twist.

As a convenient case in point, we read:

A University of Minnesota student from Wisconsin thought he was doing the right thing when he called 911 to report a possible case of alcohol poisoning. But he wound up with a $140 ticket for being an underage drinker.

……., 20, was at a party in a Minnetonka hotel in December when he was told that an 18-year-old woman had passed out. After police responded to Stremer’s 911 call, he admitted he had been drinking beer.

Of all the idiotic…

What kind of country believes 18 year olds can be sent off to die in military action, tries to prosecute children as adults, yet would deny a 20 year old man (or the 18 year old soldier for that matter) a beer?

Talk about some twisted priories and perspectives…

 

UPDATE:

By request I’ve removed the name since it was showing high on google search results.  FWIW, the newspaper articles, caches, etc. are still out there but every little bit helps.

Posted in Justice and the Courts | 1 Comment »

Alito’s in

Posted by Greg on January 30, 2006

The filibuster attempt, such as it was, was slapped down quite soundly 75-25 in the Senate.

As I said before

Remarkable what comes to mind when one hears that now, after it’s a done deal, the hearings are over, and it’s doomed to failure, John F. Kerry, the haughtly French-looking senator from Massachussets who, by the way, served in Vietnam, is getting his knickers in a twist over Judge Alito.

This is sure to please the angry left, and there are legitimate reasons to be concerned about a Justice Alito, but the time for this, if he were serious about it, was a couple weeks ago…

Such a profile in courage.

Not.

 

Posted in Justice and the Courts | Leave a Comment »

I Figured as much

Posted by Greg on January 30, 2006

by SEAN, crossposted from Hiding in the Backwaters

Being one who has dealt with allergies my whole life, I have been really, really annoyed that I can buy no more than a 10 day supply of decongestant now that government officials have decided that restricting the sale of pseudo-ephedrine, the ingredient used for basement meth labs, is the answer to the drug problem. There is a new drug coming on the market called phenylephrine, but I’d have to buy two pills since none of the anti-histamines I use have moved to using phenylephrine. Who knows if they ever will.

So has restricting the sale of the drug worked? Sort of. There are, in fact, fewer basement meth labs, which do pose public health hazards beyond drug addiction: the by products of meth production are highly toxic and (obviously) never disposed of properly and meth labs have a tendency to blow up. Has drug consumption decreased? Nope. Now we’re just importing more crystal meth, a more potent variety, from Mexico, and because the Mexican variety is more expensive, drug related crime is up.1

I just don’t get it. Several months ago I read about the latest efforts at combating cocaine production in Columbia. Law enforcement officials, egged on by U.S. policies, had taken to spraying coca farms with defoliant. So what did the drug traffickers do? They moved their farms into national parks and wilderness areas where laws forbid the spraying of defoliants. Now, not only can the government not spray, but the drug traffickers are also burning acres of rain forest and poisoning the water with chemicals.2 How long before people pull their heads out of their asses and finally grasp the concept you cannot win the “War on Drugs? by trying to eliminate supply. These people are criminals. They don’t give a frogs fat ass about anything but money: not the law, not the land, not the lives destroyed by drugs.

More and more I am losing patience with our drug policies dictated by religious mores. Drugs are a sin, so we cannot countenance drug use of any kind and to have the U.S. government involved in the drug trade is absolutely unconscionable and not open for discussion. And yet, if the U.S. government strictly controlled distribution of drugs at a price cheaper than the streets, not only would we not be destroying acres of rainforest, drug related crime would likely go down, and we would have direct access to the people who are the root of the problem and be able to offer counseling and assistance in kicking the habit altogether.

I am admittedly uncomfortable with the idea. Still, it seems a much smarter solution than anything else that has been tried. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results. The “War on Drug? crossed that line a long time ago. Drugs still flow into this country pretty much unchecked. Drug consumption has not diminished in any significant way. All they have succeeded in doing is making it a pain for honest people to get the medication they need.

1Zernike, Kate, “Potent Mexican Meth Floods In as States Curb Domestic Variety,? The New York Times, January 23, 2006, nytimes.com (subscription required).
2Associated Press, “Cocaine destroying rainforest parks in Colombia,? September 28, 2005, mongabay.com.

Posted in Health Care | Leave a Comment »

Just do your job, dammit

Posted by Greg on January 30, 2006

Apparently the religious right has extra time on its hands despite their continued intrusion into the private lives of America’s women and gays.  Now they’re trying to interfere with your medical care too.

More than a dozen states are considering new laws to protect health workers who do not want to provide care that conflicts with their personal beliefs, a surge of legislation that reflects the intensifying tension between asserting individual religious values and defending patients’ rights.

About half of the proposals would shield pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control and “morning-after” pills because they believe the drugs cause abortions. But many are far broader measures that would shelter a doctor, nurse, aide, technician or other employee who objects to any therapy. That might include in-vitro fertilization, physician-assisted suicide, embryonic stem cells and perhaps even providing treatment to gays and lesbians. 

For heaven’s sake – if your personal beliefs prevent you from doing your job, maybe you should consider a career change!

As a comment on Balloon Juice observed:

It’s like a vegan being hired as a butcher and then claiming that his “personal beliefs? won’t allow him to touch meat, so his employer will have to accomodate them. 

Why on earth are these dweebs – likely Republicans for the most part – seeking protections for people who refuse to do their job?

Also see:

Culture Wars Guerilla

Donna Hill

David Marco

Capitol Hill Blue

 

Posted in Culture War, Health Care, The Right | Leave a Comment »

Playing Peoria

Posted by Greg on January 28, 2006

from the Wall Street Journal

Despite the cracks about gay cowboys on late-night TV and chin-stroking about whether it would play in Peoria, “Brokeback Mountain” is poised to be not just one of the most praised films of the 2005 Oscar class — it will become one of the most profitable movies of the year, and a mainstream one at that.

Posted in Culture War | 3 Comments »

Polling Project

Posted by Greg on January 28, 2006

Results are in from MyDD’s first polling project.  Worth a look and some analysis.

Methodology

First post

Second post

More to come.

Posted in Bush Adminisration | Leave a Comment »

Write your own headline

Posted by Greg on January 28, 2006

Oh boy…

The college president, Walter Kimbrough, had told the audience, that inviting [Ann] Coulter to speak at the black school made sense because like hip hoppers she is “raw, outspoken, uncensored.” He also called her the “conservative answer to rapper Lil’ Kim — [both] attractive and sexy, long-haired blondes. …”

Coulter said it was “the best introduction” she’d ever had.

Lil’ Kim is currently in the middle of a 366-day jail sentence for perjury and conspiracy.

Posted in The Right | Leave a Comment »

Politicizing politization

Posted by Greg on January 28, 2006

The White House continues to question the judgment and patriotism of those who dare ask questions about its illegal spy programs.  The Washington Post editorializes:

The Bush administration’s distortion, for political purposes, of the Democratic position on warrantless surveillance is loathsome. Despite the best efforts of Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff, and Ken Mehlman, the Republican National Committee chairman, to make it seem otherwise, Democrats are not opposed to vigorous, effective surveillance that could uncover terrorist activity. Nor are the concerns that they are expressing unique to their party. Republican Sens. John McCain (Ariz.), Arlen Specter (Pa.), Chuck Hagel (Neb.), Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) and Sam Brownback (Kan.) have expressed legal doubts about the surveillance program. Do they, too, have a “pre-9/11 worldview,” as Mr. Rove said of the Democrats?

Believing there should be constraints on unchecked executive power is not the same as being weak-kneed about the war against terrorism. Critics are suggesting that President Bush should have gone through normal procedures for conducting such surveillance or asked Congress to provide clear legal authority for the National Security Agency activity. They are not contending that such surveillance shouldn’t be conducted at all. No leading Democrat has argued for barring this kind of potentially useful technique.

As Joe Gandelman observes:

And there you have it. Just as the controversy over Oprah and The Bio That Wasn’t Factual underscored the issue of whether facts matter and whether truth is subjective, we now face the prospect of a political party and its infomachine going around in 2006 suggesting Democrats don’t want surveillance or to protect Americans.

Quoting from the same editorial he continues:

But you wouldn’t know that to listen to the GOP spin. “Let me be as clear as I can be — President Bush believes if al Qaeda is calling somebody in America, it is in our national security interest to know who they’re calling and why,” Mr. Rove said at the Republican National Committee winter meeting last week. “Some important Democrats clearly disagree.” Mr. Mehlman named names. “Do Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean really think that when the NSA is listening in on terrorists planning attacks on America, they need to hang up when those terrorists dial their sleeper cells inside the United States?” he asked.

Mr. Mehlman’s comment is so inaccurate that we just will had to boldface it. The problem is: some Americans will believe it. Mr. Mehlman left out the fact that the government could have done it and gone for approval under FISA afterwards.

Yes, you can win power by any means by demonizing those who disagree with you and misrepresenting their positions through a massive info machine. But you can’t achieve national unity as many great American administrations have by doing so. On the other hand, that truly doesn’t see to matter to them.Also read:

The Carpetbagger Report

Think Progress

Donkelphant

Posted in Bush Adminisration | Leave a Comment »

Marvin K. Mooney, will you please go now?

Posted by Greg on January 27, 2006

Remarkable what comes to mind when one hears that now, after it’s a done deal, the hearings are over, and it’s doomed to failure, John F. Kerry, the haughtly French-looking senator from Massachussets who, by the way, served in Vietnam, is getting his knickers in a twist over Judge Alito.

This is sure to please the angry left, and there are legitimate reasons to be concerned about a Justice Alito, but the time for this, if he were serious about it, was a couple weeks ago…

Such a profile in courage.

Not.

Posted in Justice and the Courts, The Left | 1 Comment »

Read this book

Posted by Greg on January 26, 2006

If you care about understanding the Constitution

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Maryland musings

Posted by Greg on January 26, 2006

The prohibition of same sex marriage in Maryland has been ruled unconstitutional by the state’s supreme court.  That muddies the waters considerably for 2006. 

A couple takes on it:

David Schraub 

Mick Stockinger

Posted in Civil Rights, Culture War, Election 2006 | Leave a Comment »

Making it stick

Posted by Greg on January 26, 2006

The Mighty Middle offers some unsolicited advice to Democrats

I realize I am beating this incompetence issue to death. I realize I’m repeating myself, and I hate to do that. But I’m hoping with my small voice to add to what should be a crashingly obvious lesson for Democrats: as a simple matter of political tactics, an attack should be TRUE — or at least true enough. Democrats have obsessed over the president’s alleged lies, and over accusations of capitalism run riot, and neither of those lines of attack has worked because neither is really TRUE — or at least not true enough.

What has been true, from Day 1, is that this administration is incompetent. Every day, every week, every month, year after year we get more evidence. But without a sustained political push behind this, the facts don’t take a serious political toll. Had the Democrats two years ago been better phenomenologists, better observers, had they seen what was there to be seen, rather than jumping on their broken down old hobby horses, Mr. Bush would not have been re-elected.

Posted in Politics in General, The Left | Leave a Comment »

Opening the mail

Posted by Greg on January 25, 2006

matthews2.gif

Hat tip: AMERICAblog

Posted in Media | Leave a Comment »

Cashing the reality check

Posted by Greg on January 25, 2006

Among thoughtful people there’s not much doubt that Pat Robertson’s little choo choo has long since gone around the bend.  This is all the more reason to wonder about the following:

When President Bush launched his “faith-based initiative? in 2001 to funnel federal money to religious groups, Pat Robertson was skeptical, calling the idea a “Pandora’s box? and a “narcotic? that would ensnare religious organizations in government red tape.

Those misgivings notwithstanding, the federal government has become a major source of money for Operation Blessing, Robertson’s international charity, under the Bush initiative. In two years, the group’s annual revenue from government grants has ballooned from $108,000 to $14.4 million.

Critics worry that the president’s program, which directed more than $2 billion to religious groups nationwide in 2004, is subsidizing evangelistic activity and religious discrimination in hiring.

Operation Blessing says it adheres carefully to federal guidelines designed to safeguard church-state separation and uses the grants for humanitarian relief, not evangelism.

Regardless, the charity’s booming federal aid offers a case study in how Washington is channeling money to religious groups at an unprecedented pace and loosening some long-standing restrictions on how they spend it.

More questions for the administration to evade?

As The Carpetbagger put it:

But even if we put those serious concerns aside, there’s a more basic political question the Bush administration should answer: why in the world is Bush giving $14.4 million to a crazed TV preacher’s charity?

That’s not really a rhetorical question; I’m kind of hoping someone asks Scott McClellan to explain.

Posted in Bush Adminisration, Religion | Leave a Comment »

I’m a Corvette

Posted by Greg on January 25, 2006

I’m a Chevrolet Corvette!

You’re a classic – powerful, athletic, and competitive. You’re all about winning the race and getting the job done. While you have a practical everyday side, you get wild when anyone pushes your pedal. You hate to lose, but you hardly ever do.

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

Ironic since I’m not a General Motors fan.

Hat tip: UNCoRRELATED

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »