Politics and Fashion

According to this article, cleavage is in with the new spring fashions:

Get your doughy upper arms and shoulders out of their winter hibernation, because this spring and summer halters will be everywhere — tops, dresses and swimsuits. Come to think of it, if you’re bigger than a B-cup, you’d better make sure you wear the right bra.

Bust support was the only thing models in Thursday’s Spring Preview fashion show by Nordstrom didn’t have to worry about as they strutted in this season’s trends, which included many, many dresses in cotton, chiffon, jersey, lace and crochet.

Yes, dresses. The dress gets a bad rap as a foofy, useless item of girlie clothing, evocative of uncomfortable things our mothers crammed us into as children, usually in preparation for horrifically dull events. But spring lines are filled with unstuffy, even edgy dresses that can be worn and worn again as one-stop dressing or layered and accessorized to fit any occasion.

If partially bared boobs are to continue to be the style trend, it might help this libertarian candidate get a few more votes in November.

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Drinking for Texans: Friday Night Open Thread

In the spirit of our founding fathers and in remembrance of lost freedoms in Texas, I’ll be drinking beer tonight — but neither Shiner Bock nor Lone Star. I’m not sure if the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission gets a cut from beers brewed or bottled in Texas or not. Until I know for sure, I’ll not support those thugs — but will probably drink Sam Adams instead.

BTW, the Sam Adams Brewery has one of their advertisements available online which celebrates the values of independence and freedom, values once held by Texas politicians. From the commercial:

You can’t change the course of history with watery beer.

Of course, the neocons and their neoprohibitionist cronies wish to stifle revolution. In the meantime, Michelle Shingal and I are considering making a batch of T-shirts in support of the bar owners suffering financially and people who wish to just go grab a few beers. We need a witty theme for them, though. The first ideas included these captions:

“Just say no, don’t blow”.

“Hell no, we won’t blow”.

“Friends don’t let friends blow drunk”

The problem’s that they’re not requiring breathlizer evidence to bust people drinking in Texas. Your witty T-shirt concepts would be appreciated.

In the mean time, it’s Friday night. Watch the Sam Adams video, grab your favorite brew, and post a few T-shirt ideas or other commentary. I’m going out, and will probably CUI (Comment Under the Influence) upon my return. It’s a safe bet I’ll be plotting some sort of revolutionary scheme once I get a few Sam Adams under my belt.


Save St. Petersburg’s Vigilante Hero

A great story swiped from Sploid:

A St. Petersburg man is lucky to be alive today after attempting one of the most ill-fated car thefts ever.

Randy H. Colby, 44, sped off in a white Chevy pick up stolen from the lot of an auto shop. As he approached a red light, he rear-ended the Nissan truck ahead him, necessitating yet another getaway.

Unluckily for Colby, that Nissan was driven by William McArthur Sams, 27, a man with a short temper and a semiautomatic handgun.

Sams gave chase, catching up with Colby at a traffic light. This time Colby backed into Sams before taking off.

At the next light Sams grabbed his gun and ran after Colby.

“Mr. Sams beat on the side of the pickup and then fired one round at one of the driver’s side tires, deflating the tire,” a report said.

An officer on the scene pulled her gun and order Sams to put down his gun. Before dropping his weapon Sams squeezed off another round, deflating the other front tire.

A desperate Colby made a sad effort to get away with two flat tires. It was only a matter of time before he was caught.

Colby is in jail facing charges of auto theft and aggravated assault with a motor vehicle.

Sams has not yet been charged with anything, though an investigation is underway.

While it’s a good chance Sams may get off the hook, he may in fact be charged with discharging a firearm or some other stupid charge. In an effort to kill that possibility in the crib and give a big thanks to our neighborhood vigilante heroes, how about calling the St. Petersburg Police Department and asking that Sams be let go: 727-893-7780

Or alternately, St Petersburg’s Mayor’s office at 727-893-7201


Badnarik Site Temporarily Down

The Badnarik for Congress site has been up and down for a few hours. Allen Hacker asked me to advise you that they’re aware of the problem and working diligently on it. I’ve been chatting with Hacker, Brad Spangler and with their server company — so I know they are doing everything possible at this moment. Hopefully, it will be back up in quickly.


Neoprohibitionist Update: Preemptive War Continues in Texas

As most of you are aware by now, they’re busting people inside of bars in Texas for drinking. That’s pretty much the same as arresting people at Wal-Mart for shopping or busting people at church for worshipping. The Houston Chronical gives us the up-to-date count:

More than 2,200 people have been arrested in Texas bars in the six months since the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission announced a crackdown on public intoxication, primarily targeting bars.

Quite a few people are calling this a preemptive war against drunk drivers. Radley Balko calls it “The March to Neoprohibition.” George W. Bush, the former governor of Texas, has certainly set the stage, as Jon Swift details:

Recently, President Bush reaffirmed his doctrine of “preemptive war.” The President’s rationale for preemptive war is a simple one: Prevent terrorist attacks before they happen by invading countries that might possibly be loosely linked to potential suspected terrorists. Already his ideas are having far-reaching effects in unexpected ways. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has decided to follow the President’s lead by launching preemptive assaults against would-be drunk drivers in order to stop drunk driving accidents before they happen. Their unique and ingenious solution: Arrest people in bars for being drunk.

see more…


John Stossel Defends “Stupid in America”

John Stossel recently created a special ABC News report called “Stupid in America” — which can be viewed at one of the links provided here in case you missed it.

Since then, it seems he’s been under fire from almost every left-leaning organization in the country. He’s written his own defense, providing evidence and explanations which refute their innacurate claims. Here’s but one (of many) gems:

MediaMatters, a liberal media watchdog group, claimed we fudged per-pupil spending numbers when we said per-pupil spending, adjusting for inflation, has doubled to “more than $10,000 per pupil per year.” They point to the “most recent” 2003 U.S. Census figure of $8,019 per pupil as a “gotcha.” In fact, the estimates for 2004-05 from the U.S. Department of Education are well over $10,000 per pupil. Even using MediaMatters’ own number, it is irrefutable that per-pupil spending has doubled over the last 30 years.

The National Education Association stooped to personal attacks, which backfired as well:

The NEA also claimed I’m not objective because I make speeches for money. I do, but I donate the money to charities. For example, I give money to Student Sponsor Partners, an organization that pays for poor kids to go to private school. You might say I put my money where my mouth is — unlike the teachers’ organizations, which often put their mouths where the money is.

Keep up the good work, John. We’re rooting for you here at HoT.



TABC Board: Stupid Is as Stupid Does

The other day, Michelle Shinghal broke a news story from her neck of the woods which provides that law enforcement officials are going inside bars to arrest people for public intoxication in the Dallas area. Now it seems pretty clear this is a statewide campaign in Texas.

First of all, the Texas bureaucrats with badges admit to it:

Texas has begun sending undercover agents into bars to arrest drinkers for being drunk, a spokeswoman for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission said on Wednesday.

The first sting operation was conducted recently in a Dallas suburb where agents infiltrated 36 bars and arrested 30 people for public intoxication, said the commission’s Carolyn Beck.

Being in a bar does not exempt one from the state laws against public drunkeness, Beck said.

Then they defend their actions:

“There are a lot of dangerous and stupid things people do when they’re intoxicated, other than get behind the wheel of a car,” Beck said. “People walk out into traffic and get run over, people jump off of balconies trying to reach a swimming pool and miss.”

She said the sting operations would continue throughout the state.

According to one report, TABC is not concerned with individual rights:

TABC officials said the sweep concerned saving lives, not individual rights. Harvey and others interviewed by NBC 5 said they believe drunken driving to be unacceptable, although Harvey wanted to confirm that the United States remains a free country.

If one decides to take a cab, hire a limo, or have a designated driver they still have no rights under this new practice. The proprieter of the establishment loses his rights, too. That’s stupid. If they’re concerned about people jumping off their balconies into their pools, it seems that one’s own house may soon be defined as public property. That’s really stupid.

We’ve all done stupid things when drinking, as the former governor of the state, his twin daughters and even other family members can surely attest. My trangressions range from slurring my speech to flirting with women with jealous husbands to telling really lame jokes. I’m sure most will agree that arresting someone for drinking inside a bar is about the most stupid thing man can imagine.

I wonder if the TABC be setting up a large barbed-wire concentration camp styled facility to handle all the business immediately following the first home football game in Austin.

One thing we can do is keep the TABC buffoons too damned busy to engage in these ludicrous raids. You can e-mail their complaint line, call their complaint line at 888-843-8222, or call the TABC executive department at 512-206-3221.


Out With the Old, In With the…Old

Amid the certainty that the Taliban regime in Afghanistan was harboring Bin Laden and his ilk, the US government, after weeks of thumb-twiddling, thought it important to oust them. After teaming with the “freedom fighting” Northern Alliance, Administration officials heaped large piles of praise on themselves for opposing the Taliban regime on moral issues, as well.

While suddenly unaware of the gross mistreatment of women throughout the Arab world, GOP mouthpieces and their trained parrots in the media feigned horror at the treatment of women in Afghanistan and hailed our military as a messianic liberation force akin to those who landed at Normandy and Omaha. The Taliban, admittedly a pack of thugs whose collective back begs for the lash, were doubtless a repressive lot who gave aid and comfort to the crazed zealots of Islam who murdered thousands of Americans on 9/11 in addition to having ruled their male and female subjects alike with an iron fist.

Stories of Taliban oppression are everywhere. A simple web search will span the gamut from truth to exaggeration to a bewildering personification of evil itself. And while there is little reason to doubt the tales of flogging, jailing and insane degrees of sex-segregation attributed to these criminals, the “liberation” stopped well short of any real change within the framework of the new and improved Afghan government.

It is apparently impossible to slip in a human rights suggestion between dictating our expectations on border policy and demanding a reduction in poppy growth. Our priorities are again right in line with logic.

The AP continues the horrifying tale of an Afghani man the state shamelessly wants executed for converting to Christianity. The following demonstrates the nature of the kinder, gentler Afghanistan we brought to power at considerable financial and human cost:

Senior Muslim clerics demanded Thursday that an Afghan man on trial for converting from Islam to Christianity be executed, warning that if the government caves in to Western pressure and frees him, they will incite people to “pull him into pieces.”

In the allegedly free, post-Taliban Afghanistan that has received billions in US “foreign aid,” a country in which it was vital to wrestle control away from the fanatics, the government murders its citizens as punishment for their private spiritual beliefs. As the AP reported Wednesday, this man’s only defense is insanity.

“We think he could be mad. He is not a normal person. He doesn’t talk like a normal person,” prosecutor Sarinwal Zamari told The Associated Press.

Moayuddin Baluch, a religious adviser to President Hamid Karzai, said Rahman would undergo a psychological examination.

To recap: government officials of allegedly sound mind will only fail to murder one of their citizens for subscribing to different religious beliefs than they do if it can be proven that he is the crazy one.

Thank God Allah we ran the pro-terrorists out of Kabul.

When asked about the situation, President Bush began his statement with an admission we have long anticipated, confessing that he is “deeply troubled.” In an obvious attempt to lighten the mood after such a bombshell, he mentioned the “principle of freedom,” a concept he is completely ignorant of. His final remarks couldn’t be heard over the laughter.


Alabama Governor’s Race: The Roy Moore Argument for Execution of Homosexuals

“The State carries the power of the sword, that is, the power to prohibit conduct with physical penalties, such as confinement and even execution. It must use that power to prevent the subversion of children toward this [homosexual] lifestyle, to not encourage a criminal lifestyle.”

The quotation above is not from Fred “God Hates Fags” Phelps, but from Alabama Republican gubernatoral candidate Roy Moore. The context is Ex parte H.H., where the former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice tackled the issue of whether homosexual parents have the same rights as their straight former partners. I added the emphasis.

In this case, Moore cited biblical passages as part of his concurrence:

Homosexuality is strongly condemned in the common law because it violates both natural and revealed law. The author of Genesis writes: “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them…. For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 1:27, 2:24 (King James). The law of the Old Testament enforced this distinction between the genders by stating that “[i]f a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.” Leviticus 20:13 (King James).

From the passage in Leviticus 20:13, the early western legal tradition garnered its laws on homosexuality. The Corpus Juris Civilis is the sixth-century encyclopedic collection of Roman laws made under the sponsorship of Emperor Justinian. “It is Justinian’s collection which served as the basis of canon law (the law of the Christian Church) and civil law (both European and English).” (9) The following is a statement in Law French from Corpus Juris:

“‘Sodomie est crime de majeste vers le Roy Celestre,’ and [is] translated in a footnote as ‘Sodomy is high treason against the King of Heaven.’ At common law ‘sodomy’ and the phrase ‘infamous crime against nature’ were often used interchangeably.”

In case any of you aren’t familiar with the passage Moore used, here’s the entire verse Moore quoted (NIV and emphasis added). It exposes the part of “early western legal tradition” that Moore purposefully omitted.

If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

As it’s an election year, one might expect Moore to waffle a bit on this one. It’s been reported that he’s done so in the past. There may be some argument over translation of the Leviticus verse (which is why I used a link which provides multiple translations) in question. There can be no argument that Moore also used this non-biblical argument to support his call for execution, though (emphasis added):

Sodomy was codified by statute as a serious crime early in England. “The earliest English secular legislation on the subject dates from 1533, when Parliament under Henry VIII classified buggery (by now a euphemism for same-sex activity, bestiality, and anal intercourse) as a felony. Penalties included death, losses of goods, and loss of lands.”

That Moore finds homosexuality abominable is Moore’s personal right. That Moore would write that the state has and “must use” the power of the sword to protect children from the influence of homosexuals clearly indicates that he’s not suitable to hold any public office — no matter your political party, philosophical ponderings or personal preferences.

If executing gay people isn’t bad enough, the situation could become even scarier if Moore is elected. To defend his position in this case, Moore wrote:

Lest there be any doubt, the Legislature made it clear that its definition of “deviate sexual intercourse” in § 13A-6-65(a)(3) “[made] all homosexual conduct criminal.” Commentary to § 13A-6-65 (emphasis added). (5)

Footnote (5) provides:

5. Section 13A-6-60 defines “deviate sexual intercourse” as “[a]ny act of sexual gratification between persons not married to each other involving the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another.

In other words, he’ll likely stick it to heterosexuals, too. According to Alabama code (pertinent definitions here), it’s a crime for a 15 year and 11 month old teenager to receive oral sex from a 16 year and 1 month old. It’s also a crime, under any circumstances, for any person to give or recieve oral sex outside of the marital bedroom.

Some form of the word “moral” appears 32 times in a document supposedly about a decision based on the law, and not on Moore’s religious beliefs. Additionally, he finds no problems with laws dealing with “moral turpitude” and wrote that common law arguments from centuries ago (unless a state law has been passed which directly addresses the issue at hand) should be the basis for determining criminal responsibility in such cases.

Based on his own words, we now know that Moore would execute homosexuals if state law allowed for it. We don’t yet know how far he’d take it if our teenagers get caught engaged in some heavy petting or if an unmarried couple is exposed for having oral sex. I don’t wish to ever have to find out, either.

Earlier today, I outlined the key choices for Governor of Alabama. If you support killing fags, there’s but one choice for Governor. There are a variety of choices for the rest of you, though.

If you’re socially liberal, you can vote for Nall or perhaps Siegelman. If you’re economically liberal, vote for one of the three tax and spenders: Riley, Baxley or Siegelman. If you’re a true economic conservative who deplores the moral position taken by Roy Moore, Nall is the only choice available. What ever you do, please cast your vote (or your support, if you live outside of Alabama) against Moore.



Alabama’s Race for Governor from the 50 Yard Line

Note: this article contains dead links, the url is still in the hover/alt text. Keep the web working, curate content well!

Of all the gubernatoral elections to be held this upcoming November, perhaps Alabama happens to have the most colorful contest. Even The New York Times ran this headline yesterday: “In Race to Lead Alabama, It’s Politics as Unusual”. The following key contenders showed at the starting gate:

  • Former Governor “the Don” Siegelman, currently under indictment for what may be politically based charges, seeks the Democratic nod. Despite a trial date of May 1, the criminal allegations may not impact the Don at the ballot box, as indictments and gubernatoral politics go hand in hand in the Heart of Dixie. His key platform item is the establishment of a state lottery.
  • Incumbent Governor “Billion Dollar Bob” Riley, the Republican who tried to significantly raise taxes in the name of Jesus. Riley is trying to overcome his stinging loss on that bill by taking credit for a budget surplus which he predicted would be a deficit — the very basis for his call for the largest tax increase in state history. Riley has Abramoff problems, but seems to have the state GOP Chairman, Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh, on his side. Twinkle once opposed the Riley tax plan, then changed sides as she went to work for the governor as his appointments secretary and then deputy chief of staff. She left the governor’s office to chair the Alabama Republican Party just in time for the big GOP showdown in the state. She’s also under fire for taking special interest money.
  • Libertarian activist Loretta “No Panties” Nall, a key player in state, national, and international drug war and prison reform issues. Recently in the news because of her boobs and lack of undergarments, Nall is trying to overcome the public perception of being a single issue candidate (she isn’t) and knock down the barrier of egregious ballot access laws.
  • Current Lt. Governor “I Love Lucy” Baxley, a Democrat who ducked the issues by running on a platform of “We [heart symbol] Lucy” last election cycle. She started with the same platform this time, but has been under fire for copping out on the issues. It seems she may be trying to bury this reputation along with this website banner.
  • Former Judge Roy “Ten Commandments” Moore, who just squashed rumors of an independent or third-party bid and will run against Riley for the GOP nod. Moore is running in opposition to the former Riley tax increase plan (as opposed to the tax decrease plan Riley recently proposed — coincidentally while running for office, go figure). However, during the 2003 tax increase showdown, Moore remained conspiculously silent on the tax issue, instead focusing his efforts (and needed media attention) on an expensive rock at the state Supreme Court building.
  • I’m not actively working for any of these campaigns, but have contacts in all of them. It’s already been a lot of fun to watch this race from the sidelines, and I expect the last three quarters of the game to become even more exciting.


    R for Revolution

    A guest column by Jon Airheart

    “Remember, Remember (the 5th of November)” is the battle cry of a masked man known only as V in the film V for Vendetta. The date serves as a historic anniversary of an act of civil disobedience in which freedom conquered tyranny — for a moment, anyway.

    The date has lost all significance some hundreds of years later. It has all but been removed from history texts, in fact. It quickly becomes apparent that tyranny is alive and well in a futuristic England that is not all that futuristic at all thanks to its totalitarian government.

    V is an eccentric enigma, clothed in all black, hell-bent on revenge and, ultimately, revolution. It turns out to be neither quick nor easy. But with a detailed plan and an unmatched determination, anything is possible.

    The film refers to the United States as the former United States. We are alluded to as a 3rd world country in shambles.

    I tried to play a song by America on my iPod recently and it couldn’t read it. It would just go to the next song. For some strange reason it didn’t recognize America.

    I can relate.

    If Jack Abramoff, Duke Cunningham, or Tom Delay aren’t grabbing scandalous headlines, the president is by defending warrant-less wiretapping of American citizens or allowing foreign countries to manage our seaports. We pay some farmers not to grow crops, and arrest sick people for growing illegal ones. The Supreme Court thinks it’s okay to take your home and give it to a business to increase the tax base. In many cases people not only lose their homes to eminent domain abuse but they literally pay for it through corporate subsidies. The entire country used to be a free speech zone, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Now it’s a 15-square foot fenced in cage open from noon to four, Monday through Friday, that you need 2 forms of ID to get into. Then there’s the Patriot Act — unconstitutional legislation voted on by a Congress that didn’t even read it — and it was just renewed. And the economy? The Senate just voted to allow the national debt to swell to nearly $9 trillion. Every man, woman and child in America now owes $30,000 apiece. Is it a debt ceiling or a debt sunroof?

    Back to my iPod story, it wound up getting worse. Where once was bountiful, beautiful music and easy to read digital data, there was now only weird sounds and frown faces. I tried to comprehend how and why it happened, to no avail. The initial experience put me in less than a good mood, needless to say. But the disparaging feeling did not last long at all. I remembered I had a warranty. One of two things will happen when I make the time to call Apple. It will either be fixed or I will get a new one.

    America, the country, is not that different. We, too, have a warranty: The Constitution and its Bill of Rights. We just have to make the time to call our representatives and remember to vote. Two things can happen once again. Either our current members of Congress will shape up or they will be ridden out of town.

    Two different characters mention in the film more than once that they do not believe in coincidence. The movie opened to audiences on March 17, the eve of the 3rd anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. The whole movie revolves around the past, present and future of a date in early November. This year, elections will be held across the nation on the 7th of November.

    In the film, there is a shipping company called BFC that delivers items that help accelerate the tipping point of V’s revolution. In District 10 of Texas there is a political campaign called Badnarik for Congress that has the best chance this year to send a shock wave through the American political system, the likes of which haven’t been seen in decades.

    Remember, remember – the 7th of November! This is the new battle cry of hope. Of change. Of freedom, not fear.


    Libertarians Blinded to Corporate Eminent Domain Abuse?

    Generally, the writers from the Ludwig von Mises Institute make good economic sense. They do until they start talking about Wal-Mart, at least. At this point, they seem to don blinders which shield them from seeing the eminent domain abuse and corporate welfare that provides Wally World with unfair economic advantages.

    The latest article from the Ludwig von Mises Institute begins this way:

    The attack on Wal-Mart essentially comes down this: opposition to economic progress, defined as greater availability of goods and services people want at ever lower prices that indicate an ever wiser use of resources in the service of society.

    The writer could not be more wrong. This is an attack on Wal-Mart, as is this, this, this and this. In each of these cases, Wal-Mart is being challenged for sucking the public teat or acquiring property through the use of eminent domain.

    If the bright and generally accurate people writing at mises.org ignored Wal-Mart’s use of tax dollars or land seizing habits once, I’d simply let the matter drop. However, they keep singing free market praises for Wal-Mart again and again — while challenging those of us who oppose local government providing Wal-Mart with tens of millions of dollars of tax abatements and outright financial gifts. I never thought I’d see the day when a libertarian institution criticized me for being in opposition to the use of eminent domain which serves some corporate interest.

    Hey Lew, would you mind enlightening your colleagues about the elephant sitting in the living room?


    Rats Fleeing the Sinking Ship?

    Once can be a fluke. Twice may be coincidence. This looks like a trend:

    Peggy Noonan: “Back to Mr. Bush in 2000. I believe it is fair to say most Republicans did not think George W. Bush was motivated to run for the presidency for the primary reason of cutting or controlling spending. But it is also fair to say that they did not think he was Lyndon B. Johnson. And that’s what he’s turned into.

    Andrew Sullivan: “We have learned a tough lesson, and it has been a lot tougher for those tens of thousands of dead, innocent Iraqis and several thousand killed and injured American soldiers than for a few humiliated pundits.”

    George Will: “Three years ago the administration had a theory: Democratic institutions do not just spring from a hospitable culture, they can also create such a culture. That theory has been a casualty of the war that began three years ago today.”

    Chuck Hagel: “I think we have had a low-grade civil war going on in Iraq, certainly the last six months, maybe the last year. Our own generals have told me that privately.”

    William F. Buckley: “One can’t doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed. . . . And the administration has, now, to cope with failure.”

    Wanna see the proposed conservative solution?

    Cal Thomas: “Maybe it’s time for a strong third party, or failing that, another revolution.”


    Pic of the Day (or last three years, even)

    People rag on me daily for my position on the U.S. military engagement in Iraq and for covering South Park related issues. Here’s (finally) absolute proof that the South Park message significantly impacts the American political scene — as well as soldiers on the firing line.

    It’s also proof that the designation “South Park Republican” is absolute oxymoronic bullshit.

    Props to Daniel via Xeni.


    My Lai Type Massacre in Iraq?

    “Fortunately, history is not made up of daily headlines, blogs on Web sites or the latest sensational attack. History is a bigger picture, and it takes some time and perspective to measure accurately.” — Donald Rumsfeld in Sunday’s WaPo

    Time may have unearthed another bombshell pertaining to the Iraq war. In this exclusive article, they allege that Marines indiscriminately shot up several families in apparant retaliation for a roadside bomb fatality. From the article:

    …a Marine communiqué from Camp Blue Diamond in Ramadi reported that Terrazas and 15 Iraqi civilians were killed by the blast and that “gunmen attacked the convoy with small-arms fire,” prompting the Marines to return fire, killing eight insurgents and wounding one other. […]

    But the details of what happened that morning in Haditha are more disturbing, disputed and horrific than the military initially reported. According to eyewitnesses and local officials interviewed over the past 10 weeks, the civilians who died in Haditha on Nov. 19 were killed not by a roadside bomb but by the Marines themselves, who went on a rampage in the village after the attack, killing 15 unarmed Iraqis in their homes, including seven women and three children. […]

    According to military officials, the inquiry acknowledged that, contrary to the military’s initial report, the 15 civilians killed on Nov. 19 died at the hands of the Marines, not the insurgents. […]

    But the military’s own reconstruction of events and the accounts of town residents interviewed by TIME–including six whose family members were killed that day–paint a picture of a devastatingly violent response by a group of U.S. troops who had lost one of their own to a deadly insurgent attack and believed they were under fire. TIME obtained a videotape that purports to show the aftermath of the Marines’ assault and provides graphic documentation of its human toll. […]

    When the Marines entered the house, they were shouting in English. “First, they went into my father’s room, where he was reading the Koran,” she claims, “and we heard shots.” According to Eman, the Marines then entered the living room. “I couldn’t see their faces very well–only their guns sticking into the doorway. I watched them shoot my grandfather, first in the chest and then in the head. Then they killed my granny.” She claims the troops started firing toward the corner of the room where she and her younger brother Abdul Rahman, 8, were hiding; the other adults shielded the children from the bullets but died in the process. Eman says her leg was hit by a piece of metal and Abdul Rahman was shot near his shoulder. “We were lying there, bleeding, and it hurt so much. Afterward, some Iraqi soldiers came. They carried us in their arms. I was crying, shouting ‘Why did you do this to our family?’ And one Iraqi soldier tells me, ‘We didn’t do it. The Americans did.'” […]

    According to military officials, the Marines say they then started taking fire from the direction of a second house, prompting them to break down the door of that house and throw in a grenade, blowing up a propane tank in the kitchen. The Marines then began firing, killing eight residents–including the owner, his wife, the owner’s sister, a 2-year-old son and three young daughters. […]

    The Marines raided a third house, which belongs to a man named Ahmed Ayed. One of Ahmed’s five sons, Yousif, who lived in a house next door, told TIME that after hearing a prolonged burst of gunfire from his father’s house, he rushed over. Iraqi soldiers keeping watch in the garden prevented him from going in. “They told me, ‘There’s nothing you can do. Don’t come closer, or the Americans will kill you too.’ The Americans didn’t let anybody into the house until 6:30 the next morning.” Ayed says that by then the bodies were gone; all the dead had been zipped into U.S. body bags and taken by Marines to a local hospital morgue. “But we could tell from the blood tracks across the floor what happened,” Ayed claims. “The Americans gathered my four brothers and took them inside my father’s bedroom, to a closet. They killed them inside the closet.”

    Time provides that the military version of events is not the same as what I just posted. This said, the military has not told a consistent story and seems to be trying to cover up. I provided what I’d guess to be the more likely of the two scenarios. I’d also like to view the video mentioned in the article, but haven’t found it on the Internet, yet.

    Back to Rummy. We’ve had time to look at the historical picture of the My Lai massacre and almost universally condemn what happened there. If this story from Iraq ends up being truthful, the only positive thing about it is that it may help strengthen U.S. resolve to withdraw from Iraq immediately.


    Pax Americana Applies to Both Wars

    First of all, the Marc Emery story just hit WaPo:

    Then came the DEA.

    Emery figured something was up when a strange young woman pestered him to buy 10 pounds of pot. He refused. She bought some seeds at his store, asked for tips about how to hide them to go to the States, and left.

    Eight days later, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents and Vancouver police tromped into his store, ordered the customers out, taped paper over the windows and began hauling out computers and files. Emery, on the other side of Canada to speak near Halifax at the Atlantic Hemp Festival, was grabbed by six plainclothes policemen as he left a restaurant.

    Emery is “one of the attorney general’s most wanted international drug trafficking targets,” the DEA in Washington crowed on July 29, 2005, announcing an extradition request for Emery and two employees. Emery’s bust, the DEA said, was “a significant blow not only to the marijuana trafficking trade but also to the marijuana legalization movement.”

    And he thought trying to change the law was legal, Emery muses.

    So did lots of other Canadians, it turned out. Emery’s arrest for extradition on U.S. “drug kingpin” charges, carrying a minimum sentence of 10 years to life in prison, outraged many in Canada. They resented the long reach of America’s law and what they saw as the United States’ fevered preoccupation with pot.

    “They need to leave our country alone,” complained a letter to the editor in the London (Ontario) Free Press. “If we wanted to prosecute Emery we would, but it is not worth our time and money.”

    “Marc’s business was known to police and every level of government,” intoned a columnist in the Vancouver Province. To arrest him now “is petty and dishonest.”

    Additionally, Steve Kubby is back in jail — this time for going to Canada to try to stay alive. In both cases, Canada is tested with having the cajones to be a sovereign county. In Kubby’s case, they already failed. With Emery, the verdict is still out — but not hopeful at this moment.

    The obvious question is whether domestic U.S. law should dictate the actions of those who live abroad. According to INS, the answer is “yes”. Check out this story from the Philippines:

    Many Filipinos consulted with me regarding the same problem: their visa was denied by the US Embassy because they admitted to the doctors at St. Luke’s that they had, years ago, smoked marijuana or used some other drug. At their visa interview, they are shocked to find that their visa is being refused, with the annotation “you have admitted to committing acts which constitute a controlled substance violation – no waiver.”

    In one case, a 29-year-old nurse had been recruited for a job in a US hospital. During visa processing, she was asked a very routine question: “Have you smoked marijuana or taken any controlled substance?” The nurse said that she had “tasted” marijuana once during a party when she was 18 years old. It was just a harmless “try”, done out of curiosity. Her visa was denied, and she was banned for life.

    Another person was a middle-aged man, said he tried marijuana two or three times when he was a teenager. His visa application was likewise denied. This man, who was petitioned by his US citizen parents, had waited for more than 10 years for his priority date to be current. But now he was being told he would never go to the US.

    None of these people had ever been charged with, or convicted of, any drug-related crime. They merely admitted that they tried or tasted marijuana or other drug during their younger days.

    While we’re doing what we can on this side, Pax Americana will continue to be the order of the day until enough of you tell our leaders just where to shove it.



    Something Rotten in South Park?

    Note: this article contains dead links, the url is still in the hover/alt text. Keep the web working, curate content well!

    Yesterday, I ran an update on South Park, Tom Cruise and Scientology. In it I mentioned that Isaac Hayes, who provided the voice for Chef, had been reported to have left the program because creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone had poked a bit too much fun at Scientology. According to reports all over the MSM and the ‘net, Hayes is alleged to have said:

    “There is a place in this world for satire, but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs of others begins”

    I awakened to an article at Fox News that stated that Hayes could not have possibly made that statement. From the mysterious Fox report:

    Isaac Hayes did not quit “South Park.” My sources say that someone quit it for him.

    I can tell you that Hayes is in no position to have quit anything. Contrary to news reports, the great writer, singer and musician suffered a stroke on Jan. 17. At the time it was said that he was hospitalized and suffering from exhaustion.

    Considering my general lack of trust of Fox News and the mystery source involved, I decided to wait a bit and see if additional confirmations of this report surfaced, but they didn’t. After seeing Nick Gillespie run the story, I decided to do likewise. Because my gut tells me that Hayes has been such a vital organ (or at least a reproductive one) of the program for years, this seems a bit out of character.

    Now comes this whammy from the Boston Herald:

    The 10th season of Comedy Central’s highest-rated series premieres tomorrow night with, of all things, “The Return of Chef.”

    Despite the fact that Isaac Hayes quit the show last week, his character takes center stage exhibiting “strange behavior” that prompts Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny to save Chef from causing more damage to South Park.

    Who replaces Hayes’ voice? And what happens to the veteran character?

    “Tune in Wednesday,” said Comedy Central spokesman Steve Albani. “We’re purposely keeping this a little mysterious.”

    While it’s possible that a succubus drained the life from Chef, it’s considerably more likely that Hayes did indeed suffer a stroke and then got Sarah Brady-ed by a brainwashed friend or family member. We may get some clues on the program when it airs tomorrow.

    Let’s just hope they don’t turn Chef into an overweight white woman with lunch-room-lady facial hair. After all, that’s what they did to Jim Brady.

    UPDATE: Another clue in da big mystery.

    Update by Stephen VanDyke: Boing Boing is tracking the story as well.


    Baring Boobs For Votes?

    Not really.

    I know the candidate well and she has worn lower cut tops for years. The fact that she’s healthfully endowed sent one key state political columnist into a fit of apoplexy, though. For an interesting take on a colorful LP candidate, check out this story at DailyKos. Here’s the Reader’s Digest version:

    Alabama columnist Bob Ingram recently mentioned third party gubernatorial candidate Loretta Nall. […]

    Apart from the tax credits for home schoolers, Loretta Nall’s platform is as far from “traditional Alabama values” as you can get. “Traditional Alabama values” are wrapped up by former Chief Justice Roy Moore, the Ten Commandments Judge. Yeah, Nall is running against him. […]

    So Ingram opens this paper to read his own column and is appalled by the photo showing Nall in possession of what can best be called “breasts.” Ingram fired back in his next column:

    “In 55 years of political writing, that was a first for me—a picture in my column of a woman displaying cleavage. I can only hope that my mother…and I know for a fact where she ended in the after life…didn’t see that column. She wouldn’t have approved of that picture.”

    So while Ingram is certain of where his mom went after she died, Nall says she is certain that before she died, Ingram’s mom had cleavage. Anyhoo, Nall had a field day with this whole thing in her blog, “US Marijuana Party.”

    She sent a letter to Ingram and his editor (the one who picked that lovely photo). You can read the entire letter here, well worth it:

    “Now that you and the rest of Alabama have been introduced to the twins perhaps you would like to meet the rest of me. I’ll don my burka so y’all won’t be offended and then perhaps we can discuss the other planks in my platform since you only covered one.”

    I love this gal. She’s one of us. Definitely.

    And before you think that Loretta is simply a southern version of Mary Carey, she isn’t. I’m really impressed how she handled this columnist. She got him on the phone, explained her platform, got him to agree that she is more than a one-issue candidate and that he would contact her directly if he ever wrote about her again.

    Keep in mind, this is the same Loretta Nall who was kicked out of prison for not wearing panties. If you never caught that story, it’s a must read. I’ll simply recommend that those of you with weak bladders go to the bathroom first — or you might pee your pants from laughing so hard.

    UPDATE: Hit and Run’s covering this one, too.


    Visiting Prentiss, Mississippi: More on Cory Maye

    Radley Balko is touring Prentiss, Mississippi doing some research on the Cory Maye case. He’s writing up some interesting observations, too.

    Here’s his interview with one of the jurors who convicted Maye of capital murder:

    First, the woman lived in a trailer that, even in the context of the shabby surroundings, was in bad shape. She looked to be in her late thirties, early forties, and was missing her front teeth — both top and bottom. She also wasn’t all that interested in talking to me.

    “I don’t want to talk about that. I’m trying my best to put that out of my mind.”

    “Just a few minutes?”

    “I don’t want to talk about it. I want to forget about it.”

    “Do you think he did it? Do you think he knew it was a cop he shot that night?”

    “I couldn’t say. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. I couldn’t say.”

    “You don’t know if he was guilty or not?”

    “Some of what he said didn’t make no sense. Some of it made sense. But I couldn’t say.”

    “If you weren’t sure, why did you convict him?”

    “I couldn’t say.”

    “Did you feel any pressure? Were you intimidated?”


    “Are you sure? There’s some talk that some of the jurors felt intimidated.”

    “No. It wasn’t like that.”

    “So you can’t tell me if you think he actually did it or not?”

    “I couldn’t say.”

    “Do you think he deserves a new trial?”

    “Oh, yes. He ought to get a new trial. Everybody deserves a chance.”

    “Is there anything else you want to tell me about Cory Maye and the trial?”

    “I don’t remember a lot of it. I was on lots of medication. For my nerves. With the medication, I didn’t hear everything. I didn’t remember everything that was going on. So I couldn’t say.”

    “What kind of medication?”

    “For my nerves.”

    “What did you think of Cory’s lawyer?”

    “I didn’t like her. I liked her at first, but then she did some things that made me not like her. A lot of people didn’t like her.”

    “What kind of things did she do?”

    “I couldn’t say, now. I don’t remember. It was a long time ago.”

    “Did you convict Cory Mayebecause you didn’t like her?”

    “Maybe a little. I couldn’t say. I’m really not sure if he did it or not.”

    This poor woman clearly wasn’t clear on the meaning of “reasonable doubt.” She’s also a good example of something I’ll write about in more detail later — a certain sense of reservation among blacks in this area that racism, injustice, and the occasional railroading at the hands of the criminal justice system are all just part life as a black person in this particular part of Mississippi. It’s not only accepted, it’s expected.

    If it hadn’t happened in the deep south, I’d call the following bizarre. Here’s an update on some of the witnesses:

    One of the more bizarre aspects of the Cory Maye case is exactly what happened to the occupants on the other side of the duplex, Jamie Smith and his girlfriend, Audrey Davis.

    Smith was the entire reason the raid took place that night. He’s the only one named in the warrants, had a reputation around Jefferson Davis County as a drug dealer, and indeed had a significant amount of marijuana in his home the night of the raid. So why was he never charged or prosecuted? Why does no one in Prentiss seem to know what happened to him?

    I talked to one woman in Prentiss who knew both Smith and Cory Maye before the raid (it’s actually something of a coincidence, given that there’s little evidence that Maye and Smith knew one another all that well). This woman, who fears repercussions from the police department and asked that I not use her name, says that Smith, Davis, and a 15-year-old named “Jimmy” were actually told to leave town by Prentiss police, precisely because of what they saw the night of the raid. In media reports and interviews with me, Prentiss police and prosecutors say only that Smith “skipped bail,” was “never charged,” or that they simply don’t know what happened to him.

    The woman I spoke with wasn’t sure if Smith, Davis, or the boy heard (or, more importantly, didn’t hear) police announce themselves before entering), but she says they did see raiding officers giving a Maye a severe beating after Officer Jones went down. That would explain why Maye was rushed off to a jail in Hattiesburg, some 45 miles away from Prentiss. It would also explain why Maye’s mother, Dorothy Funchess, was denied access to her son for two weeks after the raid. In fact, she was only given access after contacting the mayor of Hattiesburg (who happens to be black). At trial, officers roundly denied beating Maye after the raid, despite some photographic evidence to the contrary. […]

    Smith and Davis could shed some light on all of this. But not only do Prentiss officials not know where the couple is, they don’t seem all that interested in finding them. Wonder why that is?

    Anyone still wonder why movies like “In the Heat of the Night” were set in Mississippi?

    The photograph is the back door of Maye’s residence, which was kicked in by the police. It was (presumably) taken by Radley Balko, and other related photographs may be found on his website.


    Sex, Freedom, and Raising Children

    Dallas is being hammered with severe weather and my roof has sprung a leak. Right now, the Shinghal family can’t deal with anything heavier than the buckets of water collecting in my bedroom and Yahoo’s Odd News brought a much needed laugh. It also gave me something to think about.

    I always knew that Europeans view sex differently than most Americans. In some European countries, soft porn is available on local networks. We hear about the acceptance of extra-marital affairs. But a 70 year old woman getting busted by police trying to have sex in a moving car? Wow! That’s some funny stuff. Italian policed noticed that a car was driving a bit erratically and pulled it over. They found Granny completely nude attempting to have sex with the driver who is just a bit younger. Police made them dress and then tested for drunk driving.

    He was three times over the legal (blood-alcohol) limit,” said police commander Angelo D’Anardo in the city of Cologno al Serio, northeast of Milan. We assume they must have been drinking at lunch and then things got out of control.

    When asked if the couple were married, the police commander stated that he did not think so-

    Married people wouldn’t probably do anything like this.

    Reading the next item, I found that Bulgarian media is going nuts over a 3 year old girl and a reality show.

    Media were initially delighted to find the cast of moderately famous Bulgarians on “VIP Brother” included self-described “sex hedonists,” an ex-Playboy playmate, and former Miss Bulgaria Violeta Zdravkova.

    Until, that is, they found out that the beauty queen had her daughter living there too. A letter sent to the TV station said:

    We are extremely worried at the presence in the house of a three-year-old, who has become an unwitting witness of indecent acts.

    The station refused to kick the woman off the show. The reason?

    Only her mother can decide whether she should keep her daughter in the house,” said the station’s public relations officer Galina Dzhoreva.

    A network refusing to bow down to a vocal group of moral busybodies? Some of our own networks should take a lesson. They did not pull the show or kick out the beauty queen. They publicly stated that it the job of parents to determine what is right for their families. How refreshing.

    They did not describe the “indecent acts” this child may have witnessed, but as a child, I walked in on my parents having a fun night. As an adult, I went to Mom’s and walked in on her and her husband. Is it gross? Yes. Abuse? No. In the U.S. that child would probably be in the care of social services now.

    I am not saying that I find the situation of this child appropriate- I would never allow my children on reality TV.


    SpaceShipTwelve, Government Zero!

    “When a place gets crowded enough to require ID’s, social collapse is not far away. It is time to go elsewhere. The best thing about space travel is that it made it possible to go elsewhere.” –Robert A. Heinlein

    The free market race for space is heating up. People being able to explore “the final frontier” on private spacecraft is clearly the most encouraging development for those in the freedom movement who have a sense of imagination. While SpaceShipOne was certainly exciting, the better news is now they have a lot of competition. From the AP:

    Two years after the first privately financed space flight jump-started a sleepy industry, more than a dozen companies are developing rocket planes to ferry ordinary rich people out of the atmosphere.

    Several private companies will begin building their prototype vehicles this summer with plans to test fly them as early as next year. If all goes well, the first tourist could hitch a galactic joy ride late next year or 2008 – pending approval by federal regulators.

    Unlike the Cold War space race between the United States and Soviet Union that sent satellites into orbit and astronauts to the moon, this competition is bankrolled by entrepreneurs whose competition could one day make a blast into space cheap enough for the average Joe.

    “This time, it’s personal. This space race is about getting ‘us’ into space,” said space historian Andrew Chaikin.

    Of course it’s expensive — at the moment. Right now, we’re developing aerospace equivalents of the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Porsche Carrera GT, Rolls-Royce Phantom, Lamborghini Murciélago, Aston Martin Vanquish and the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti. From this technology I’d expect to see the Fords and Chevys, as well as the Saturns, Hondas, Hyundais and Kias, rolling off assembly lines as the technological kinks get worked out followed by streamlining the manufacturing process. One additional advantage of the aerospace industry is they can supersize those cost-effective subcompacts to DC-10 or 747 size (or larger) vehicles.

    Unfortunately, the government’s still in the mix:

    Before tourists can lift off, several federal hurdles must be cleared. Federal regulations that will govern human space travel and spell out safety and training requirements are expected to be wrapped up this summer.

    Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta last month told a gathering of space entrepreneurs that the government would move swiftly to grant space travel licenses to companies that can prove they can operate safely.

    That’s good news for people like Chaikin, the space historian.

    “I’ve been hoping and dreaming all my life to go into space. Now I actually have a shot of doing it.”

    We won’t be truly free until we have privately funded totally space-based operations located out of the reach of every terrestrial government. It’s truly a shame that Heinlein didn’t live long enough to see this day, but many of us may see the day when his dreams begin to become a reality.


    The Badnarik Saga Continues

    Note: this article contains dead links, the url is still in the hover/alt text. Keep the web working, curate content well!

    In response to requests for information about Badnarik campaign fundraising, campaign manager Allen Hacker responded over at Blognarik:

    First you dig a really deep hole…

    …all the way to bedrock. Then you dig some more, and finally, you start your foundation. Note that you had to do a lot of work before you could even start proactively building something.

    We’ve built a solid base. We’ve raised more than and spent less than $150K, and we’re ready to cement the foundation. That will happen the 25th when we win the District 10 nomination and can finally start to do the things a formal candidate does. That’s right, In Texas you can’t act like a candidate for office until you are one. We’ve only been a candidate for nomination through now, so we’ve been limited.

    Yes, we do intend to raise substantially more than a million, and win this race. We’ve spent so far only about a tenth of that, maybe less. Sure, this takes faith and imagination. We have it, we hope you do too.

    What does that foundation look like so far?

    Six people working full-time backed up by 5 behind-the-scenes researchers. A fully-equipped office serving as a base from which we swarm out several times a day and talk to people, grab something to eat and keep on going. A mountain of data against which the opposition won’t be able to stand.

    FEC reports don’t include “the human side”. All the fiscal analysis in the world won’t tell you how many hours are spent out in the precincts.

    We did a listening tour in February. Can’t see all those hours in the FEC report. Starting Monday, and bolstered by radio ads, we’ll do the Feedback Tour. We’ll be out there touching and lighting fires for 4 solid days. Of course, you won’t see those hours or their results in the next report, either.

    So please, my friends, let’s not let some nasty innuendo from inexperienced young people who don’t have any business experience mislead you into their thinking that we must do this from a revival tent eating hamburger-helper. They have no idea what it takes, and that’s just the limitation of youth.

    They’re not bad guys by nature, but the destructiveness of what they do when they go off half-cocked is real just the same.

    And please, let’s be fair both ways. Don’t just lecture me on manners without holding those guys to the same standard. They want to claim they’re doing analysis? Make them do a complete job. They want to say they’re just asking questions? Jump on them for us when they write snide remarks, innuendo and outright accusations instead. Then I won’t have to! (Thanks!)

    And don’t let yourselves get jarred into letting them transfer old accusations from one group to another. That’s not analysis at all, that’s just mindless reactivity.

    We all need to do better than that. I’m working on it. I hope you are too.

    I like the skyscraper analogy, and find his stated defense very reasonable — for the most part. I think Hacker should lighten up a bit on younger supporters, as they provided most of the activism which helped Michael win the LP presidential nomination in the first place, as well as keeping the enthusiasm going throughout the presidential elections. It takes both money and activists to win, and I’d be using a bit less of a top-down approach than Hacker. But as I’ve said before, he’s the man on the ground and I’m several states to the east of them.


    V for Vendetta

    There are few movies that get me excited enough to tell others about. The last one to fit into this category was Aaron Russo’s documentary “America: From Freedom to Fascim“. Well, it has been trumped. “V for Vendetta” is a libertarian masterpiece, to say the least. As Butler Shaffer puts it:

    My wife and I just got back from watching “V for Vendetta.” WOW!! Not only is this the greatest anti-state movie I have ever seen – nothing else comes close in my mind – but one of the best films (regardless of content) I have seen. The acting is superb (especially that of the heroine); the production, script, and direction are marvelous. Even if this film had been about anti-vivisectionism it would be a great film.

    This film far, far exceeded my expectations. It explores the dynamics of tyranny; how we are ruled by our own fears; and, . . . well, go see it for yourselves!

    I couldn’t have said it any better. This movie is a must see.

    UPDATE: You know it has got to be a good movie when the religious wackos are labeling it:

    a vile, pro-terrorist piece of neo-Marxist, left-wing propaganda filled with radical sexual politics and nasty attacks on religion and Christianity.

    UPDATE 2: Butler Shaffer has a more thorough review of the movie here.