Friday, May 28, 2010

In Reply: Read The Bill!!

In reply to the following comment:
oh lay- I can't speak for Marisa, but I've read the bill several times. No need for all the exclamation marks.

That said, I think the calls for everyone to "read the bill" are pretty silly.

Politicians have legislative aids to read bills and distill the information for them; to read every piece of legislation would not only be a waste of time, it just wouldn't be possible.

Furthermore, I've seen some commenters tell other blog readers that they should also "read the bill."

As Pat Young pointed out in another comment, how many supporters/opponents of the health reform package actually read that bill?

That's why we need journalists and legislative policy experts: to read, research, and distill info for the public.
- longislandwins (author) - Public Support for Ariz. Immigration Law Traced to Fear-Based Advertising : Long Island Wins (blog)

Sorry to once again be contrary, but I'm all for "reading the bill," whether one is a politician, a member of the media, or a voter.

It's true that it would be damned near impossible to have every politician read every word of every bill on which s/he is required to vote. Nevertheless, their job description makes them responsible for being aware of every word and meaning they vote for or against, and I believe every voter ought to hold their government representatives responsible for doing their jobs, so they ought to read the most salient points, and have a good staff to go through every word with a fine tooth comb and point out the most important parts for 'em. (I also support having all proposed federal legislation posted online--where our reps, the media, and we voters can read it--for a minimum of three full days (72 hours) before our Senators or House Representatives can vote on final passage.)

While I'm all for having the media go through and "dumb down" legislation for those of us who ain't lawyers and politicians, I'm certainly not opposed to our trying to read them ourselves, as well... With all respect due lawyers and media folks, I'd rather try to read primary sources and fail than simply rely on "experts" to tell me what those primary sources say, through the lens of their own biases and slants.

I'm neither naive or egotistical enough to believe that I don't need anyone's help when it comes to understanding complex proposed legislation and laws, but it strikes me as a bad idea for us to leave ourselves beholden to the mercies of "experts" when it comes to how we govern ourselves.

The last thing that reading proposed legislation is is a waste of time... The legislators that we elect--and more importantly us, because we put those legislators there--are responsible for every law "we" create and repeal, and having as many folks as possible reading 'em before enacting or repealing them is the very least we should require of "ourselves."

As far as SB 1070 in particular, the dang thing is a few pages long, and not especially complicated. Everyone discussing it, for or against, certainly ought to read it before doing so. (I'm damned embarrassed that so many folks on my side of the aisle took more time to talk about it than they took to look it over. Talk about a waste of time...)

That said, the words of 1070--which do forbid profiling and bigotry, and random stops on the street--are never going to be enforced in a vacuum. "Lawful contact" and "reasonable suspicion" are whatever an officer says they are, and I've no doubt that, should 1070 withstand judicial scrutiny, "loitering" and "reasonable suspicion based on arrestee making a 'furtive movement'" -- like "watching the sector car too closely as it drove past," or "intentionally NOT looking at the sector car as it drove past;" "shoving hands in pockets, as though hiding something," or "removing hands from pockets, as though dropping something" --will become high growth "crimes" in AZ.

In short, there's what the new law says on paper, and then there's what it means out in the real world.
Posted 5/28/10, at 3:17 PM (No comment links)

In Reply: Racism, Bad Judgement, or a Tiny Tempest in a Teacup?

In reply to: Ku Klux Kontroversy - Youth for Western Civilization, a story about a Georgia teacher who led four white AP History students wearing Klan garb through the school lunchroom, where students--including black and mixed race students--were eating.

Pretty offensive, right?

But here are more facts:
The students were dressed that way to shoot a class video project about the history of racism, almost certainly depicting KKK bigotry as the evil it was and is.
The teacher didn't know the lunchroom was being used at the time.
The teacher realizes she made some mistakes in judgement, and takes full responsibility for her actions.

Less offensive? I think so, too.

The author at the Youth for Western Civ blog sees the bruhaha erupting from this incident as "a small tempest in a teacup about 'racism'," the result of "the PC Left" getting bent outta shape over an "AP History teacher [who] obviously thought it would be a good exercise in white guilt over racism and slavery."

I think he's mistaken. My comment (revised and extended from the original, for clarity) appears below.

I don't know, but it seems to me that even the teacher herself isn't on your side, here... She admits she made a few errors in judgement in this situation, and I think she's correct.

She shouldn't be fired over the incident--as you say, she didn't intend to offend anyone, and she takes responsibility for screwing up--but it isn't "a tempest in a teacup" or "an example of political correctness run amuck," either. (I'll feel differently if she is actually fired over the incident, but up to this point, I believe the school's actions are justified... and again, I don't hear the teacher saying any different.)

Seeing kids dressed up as racists (like the klan) or genocidal murderers (say, in Nazi uniforms) is offensive, and rightly so--particularly to those cultural groups who are descendants of their intended victims, but also to anyone who thinks these groups were a stain on humanity (and continue to be--there are bigots wearing Klan/Nazi symbols and preaching some of their tenets to this very day, who do intend offense and harm).

Context counts for alot, but there's also something to be said for thinking things through and planning ahead. Simply realizing that kids in Klan garb could easily be misunderstood and
1) running the idea by the principal,
2) having the kids take the sheets off when not actively shooting video (it's not like it's hours of costuming and make-up. It's a white sheet and a party hat. Toss the sheet over the head, strap on the hat, and your "dressed."), or
3) just not allowing kids to dress up as bigots/murderers in the first place, because whatever one's good intent, it's just too easily misunderstood and misinterpreted,
would've prevented the whole incident.

I don't agree with your take on this... While it wasn't the teacher's intent to be offensive, she didn't do enough to prevent some folks from being rightly offended by what they saw. They lacked the context to judge the incident for what it actually was because the teacher failed to provide it to them ahead of time. (For the person at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution article who likened this to a civil war reenactment: One big difference is, when you attend one of those, you know it's a reenactment and choose to be there. The folks in the lunch room did neither. And for another, I don't think many see either the union or confederate army uniform as offensive...)

It's not a firing offense, but it's not nothin' either... As you (sarcastically) say though, at least it furthers the ongoing discussion of race and tolerance in America, and (contrary to that sarcasm), I think that's a good thing...
Posted Friday, 28 May 2010 05:39 (Western Youth blog time)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

In Reply: There's something to be said for staying in one's home country and improving conditions there...

In reply to Pat Young, at the Long Island Wins post, Dozens Arrested at Immigration Civil Disobedience in Chicago, who wrote (in response to a sliver of a previous comment I made, quoted below):
You wrote:
"I believe people born in other lands should want the rights we have, but (and?) should fight to achieve them where they live by changing their own governments, as we did.)"
I don't know about you, but my ancestors changed the government they lived under (English rule in Ireland) by moving here.
Well sure... Leaving one's home country is one way to change the bad circumstances under which one lives, but there is also something to be said for staying and fighting those bad circumstances in one's own home country, the way some of your ancestors and mine did by fighting in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, for women's suffrage, for civil rights for blacks... ...and continue to do so today for the right of homosexuals to enter into legal unions and openly serve in the military, and on and on...

(I suspect that you did understand my intended meaning, but just in case, there it is... While leaving sometimes becomes necessary, I believe that people in other countries who want US freedoms and opportunities ought to struggle to create and maintain as many of them as they can in their own home countries... ...with US help whenever possible.)

Do you disagree?
Posted 5/27/10, 3:03 PM (or so... No comment links...)
In reply: There has to be a line between "American" and "not American," "legal" and "not legal"

In reply: There has to be a line between "American" and "not American," "legal" and "not legal"

In reply to: Dozens Arrested at Immigration Civil Disobedience in Chicago - Long Island Wins
Shouting “legalization, not deportation” and hoisting signs that read “Boycott Arizona,” a crowd of about 200 protesters gathered outside the offices of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and refused to move despite requests from Department of Homeland Security officers.
I'm a liberal, but this is where I part company with many of my ideological peers.

I believe America is in many ways the finest place on Earth, but that to maintain that, we have to have borders denoting "America" and "not America;" clear lines showing where US rights, responsibilities, and freedoms begin and end. (I also believe there are God/nature-given HUMAN rights that apply to everyone, but not all rights granted citizens here in the US are or necessarily should be universally granted... As an American, I believe people born in other lands should want the rights we have, but (and?) should fight to achieve them where they live by changing their own governments, as we did.)

In order to protect and maintain those unique rights, responsibilities, freedoms, and benefits we've struggled to achieve and to improve here in the US, we need to have laws that define who is and is not a citizen of this country eligible to partake of all those goodies, and responsible for protecting and defending them, when necessary. Those borders are a part of that. (Yes, it is largely an accident of birth that determines who is and is not an American. That's just the way the cookie crumbles. It's as fair a system as being born handsome, or athletic, or healthy. All one can do is thank--or blame--one's parents and one's God, depending on what an individual got/didn't get out of his/her birth...)

If we let everyone in--essentially removing the borders and definitions of who and what is/isn't an American--we cease to be unique and special. The rights and benefits that Americans have nurtured and struggled for since the founding of this country become everyone's rights, as long as they can get here, and damn the fact that we have limited space and other resources to handle an unlimited influx of automatic "citizens," or whether all of them share our American values.

I believe in regulated legal immigration--in some ways easier and certainly quicker than it is now--but limited in scope and with an eye toward American values and needs. Obviously there is going to have to be some degree of amnesty + a fine for illegals who've established themselves here, but some people are going to face deportation. (And no matter what the timeframe is... 5 years, 10 years, ..., there's going to be many individuals and families who've been here one month less than they needed to be, and "heartlessly" put in line for deportation because of it--to which I again repeat that there have to be firm lines of demarkation, or "borders," between one side and the other, "American" and "not American," "legal" and "not legal," or our laws cease to mean anything...)

I still believe in Emma Lazarus's famous words about America's golden door for huddled masses yearning to breathe free, but even back then, that door had latches and locks--some more stringent than much of anyone mainstream would even think of imposing on immigrants today...

(In case I haven't made it clear enough, I'm looking for some of those liberal/progressive people who disagree with me to explain why I'm wrong on this issue -- See: Mr Young's eloquent discussion about not letting folks--including ourselves--get away with bulls@@@.)
Posted 5/27/10, 10:07 AM (no comment links)

In reply: It's STILL not what Rand Paul would've done then, but what he'd do in future, if elected

In reply to: UPDATE: More raw video: Rand Paul sits down with Joe Arnold to address recent controversial statements - Louisville Blogs

As I left my last comment before the additional video, I figured I'd come on back, if only to say that the new piece changes very little of what I said initially...

What Rand Paul has said about the CRA (and the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Fair Housing Act, and ..., and ...), especially when looked at as a whole, brings into question how the man will vote in future, when there are new bills that want to impose government solutions to societal problems no less important than the ones addressed by the CRA, the ADA, and Fair Housing laws. If, as he admits, Rand Paul has issues with these "settled laws" from the past, it certainly brings into question how he'll vote in similar situations, should he be elected.

The time to question him on these kinda issues is now, not once he's in office, and I hope whatever local and "friendly" media Dr. Paul feels comfortable putting himself in front of will ask many such questions.
Posted May 27, 2010 at 6:40 AM (No comment links)

In reply: It's not what Rand Paul would've done then, but what he'd do in future, if elected

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

In reply: I just can't support SB 1070. I think it's a bad law.

In reply to: Arizona Law in Action: Illegal Aliens Arrested in Protest Face Deportation - Youth for Western Civilization
"For example, if the police discover you are driving a vehicle lacking registration or insurance, or if you do not have a driver's license, they will not simply permit you to drive away."
Well, they do write you a ticket first, but yeah, they do generally allow you to drive away afterward... ...still without the thing you're lacking... ...and as long as you pay the ticket, you can generally keep driving without it, until you get caught enough times that they do haul you away as a repeat offender.

But I do see and more or less agree with your point.
"I don't see the logic of why immigration laws should be treated any different than any other law, or why people are allowed to continue to violate the law even after law enforcement becomes aware of the issue."
Well as I said, being here illegally is different than many laws, in that it isn't a criminal offense. For all the bruhaha, it's not even as serious as driving without license/reg/insurance... There's not even a fine involved, let alone court or jail time...

As I said below, I favor having police go after the criminal element first and foremost, and not spending a whole lotta time on folks who sneak in to spend 8-10 hours a day picking vegetables or butchering meat, or whatever... Yes, they are breaking the law, but I'd prefer that ICE deal with them.

I also think that we'd do far more to curb the problem of illegal workers by making it as difficult as possible for them to find work. E-verify, stiff fines/no government contracts for the companies who hire undocumented, unverified workers, and continued raids would do a whole lot toward getting illegals to deport themselves, without involving law enforcement unnecessarily. When there is no work for them here, many of the illegals who come here to work will stop coming.

(And--probably because I'm a liberal--I think it would be worth it to provide foreign aid to some of the countries from which they come, to improve the political, social and economic outlook there, so that leaving their homes and families becomes that much less attractive. I can see where Cons might not buy into that part of the plan, however...)

And I have no real issue with border fences, walls, alligator-filled moats or seriously increased manpower on the border, either. (though I'd insist that whatever we build be constructed by US companies and workers.) It's a damned shame that we need to ruin the landscape that way, but apparently we do need to do so...

My main point is, I don't believe that making illegals into criminals and going to the trouble of rounding them up, trying them, jailing them, and then deporting them is the best use of law enforcement time and energy. Better we cut off the demand for illegal labor here (and perhaps sweeten the pot by increasing the chances of their finding work back in their home countries) and allow the illegals to self-deport.

By all means arrest, convict and jail the murderers, rapists and thieves, no matter where they come from, and then deport their asses after they've served their time here in the US... But wasting time trying to do the same with all the illegal workers and families doesn't seem to be a good idea, in my humble...

(And that's not to mention all the problems with potential profiling and discrimination of illegals and hispanic citizens alike that I've talked about previously...)

I just can't support 1070, for these reasons. I think it's a bad law.

Posted Wednesday, 26 May 2010 21:31 (Western Youth blog time)
In Reply: SB 1070 facts vs fictions
In Reply: SB 1070: "...impossible to do, impractical to try to do."

In Reply: SB 1070: "...impossible to do, impractical to try to do."

In reply to the following comment about AZ's SB 1070:
It requires some sort of law enforcement contact aside from immigration concerns, such as a traffic stop or arrest. My main point was that they couldn't just go in and check them for IDs before their action became criminal trespass, or all the other protesters hanging around, including the one who felt confident enough to tell the media about her illegal status and give her full name. If for example you had told the media you had marijuana plants in your backyard and given your full name, in most places you could expect a visit from the police. Likewise for bragging about nearly any other violation of the law. Apparently, if you give your full name to the media and brag about breaking immigration laws, this does not happen. Instead, only if you get arrested or detained in a traffic stop, or some other police activity. The image being put out by the media is that the police may stop anyone and ask for ID based on 'reasonable suspicion' that the person is violating immigration laws, which is simply not true. - John Anderson, Wednesday, 26 May 2010 11:21 Arizona Law in Action: Illegal Aliens Arrested in Protest Face Deportation - Youth for Western Civilization
First off, I can appreciate that you believe law enforcement ought to round up every single illegal and send them back where they came from, but I think it's impossible to do, and impractical to try to do.

Like it or not, there's a distinction between being in this country illegally and growing marijuana and many of those other violations of law to which you refer: It isn't a criminal offense to be here illegally. With the exception of AZ under 1070, there is no jail time or even a fine. When found, there's no trial or pleading guilty or innocent... they verify that you're not a US citizen, and you're deported. It's a civil offense.

That's not to say that I think folks who admit to being here illegally shouldn't be deported, but I'm not so sure I want the police wasting time looking for those illegals who haven't broken any criminal laws, especially if doing so will take time away from real police work. Similarly, I don't believe that AZ should be including nuisance complaints like loud parties or barking dogs among "lawful contact." If the goal is to reduce crime in AZ, wasting time, money, and energy on detaining and deporting the owner(s) of a barking dog is going to be counterproductive to meeting that goal, nine times outta ten.

Second, it's the subjectivity of the terms "lawful contact" and "reasonable suspicion" that have me concerned about the AZ law. While I agree that most cops are far too busy to bother harassing random people just because they can, there are cops who will use this new law to harass specific individuals because 1070 gives them another tool with which to do so. (If there was no such thing as police misconduct, there wouldn't be rules against it. Power can easily corrupt, and sometimes, it does.)

The fact is, I'm not entirely sure that all contact with a law enforcement officer isn't "lawful contact," or that such a standard wouldn't prevent an officer from checking any group of hispanics he finds "loitering" in a park or in front of a business or home, or making a "furtive movement" upon seeing an officer (stuffing hands into pockets, abruptly taking hands out of pockets, as though dropping something, staring at sector car as it drives past, purposely NOT looking at sector car as it drives past, ...), or even being the guy who called in the complaint about his neighbor's barking dog... ...assuming you're not "american-looking," of course...

I just think the AZ law is too subjective and casts a net so wide as to catch too many Americans and "illegals" who--but for their status under the new AZ law--would not be criminals. Aside from the wasted police man hours devoted to detaining loiterers and barking dog owners rather than murderers and rapists, the AZ law is going to overwhelm the enforcement and legal systems as they try to detain all these new "criminals" and answer wrongful arrest, profiling, and other lawsuits.

As I said below, I believe AZ do far better by following the example and experiences of Prince William County, VA, and changing 1070 to require status checks upon arrest rather than on reasonable suspicion during lawful contact, by not criminalizing the civil offense of being in the US illegally, and by cutting the illegal whose only offense is having a dog that won't stop barking, a little slack.

Posted Wednesday, 26 May 2010 13:46 (Western Youth blog time)
In Reply: SB 1070 facts vs fictions

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

In Reply: SB 1070 facts vs fictions

In reply to: Arizona Law in Action: Illegal Aliens Arrested in Protest Face Deportation - Youth for Western Civilization

Two things:
"Three illegal aliens who criminally trespassed in Senator John McCain’s office were arrested for the offense, and as per the new Arizona law, their citizenship was examined and found to be wanting."
1) SB 1070 is due to take effect July 28th, 2010. The immigration status check of these three perps did not take place because of it, or according to the conditions contained in it.

(And obviously, current AZ law is sufficient to check a suspect's status, making 1070 superfluous, at least in this regard.)
"Unlike claims of liberal commentators, they could not be asked for proof of legal residency until after they had been arrested for another offense, in this case criminal trespass."
2) SB 1070 does not require arrest before checking a person's immigration status:
The standard is "reasonable suspicion," and can take place during any "lawful contact" between law enforcement and a person suspected of not being here legally.

I'm hoping that AZ goes (or returns) to a "check status upon arrest" standard... I'd have no issue with that... ...though I'd kinda prefer to have suspected criminals tried (and if convicted, jailed) here if they break US law, rather than sent back to their country of origin scott-free. YMMV...
Posted Tuesday, 25 May 2010 18:36 (Western Youth blog time)

Reposted Wednesday, 26 May 2010 07:05 (Western Youth blog time), after "some comments by actual people got deleted" in a spam sweep--including this one, as posted Tuesday, 25 May 2010 18:36, I'm hoping... (Better that than moderation for ideological content...)

In Reply: Driving While Honduran, the squeakquel (and moderation)

In reply to the following comment: "If Elias Garcia had been properly deported to Honduras for breaking the law, this crime and others like it would never have happened." - Long Island Loses - Youth for Western Civilization

Well sure, but that's just one "if" among many... The same would be true:
if he was a better driver
if he (or the victims) had stopped to eat at Burger King, so they weren't on that same road at the same time
if his vehicle had broken down
if he'd been at work

The thing with playing the "what if" game is that there's a million variations, and none of them express much in the way of truth... While it's a great game to play if you're trying to find a new solution to an old problem, it's no help in relaying a news story describing actual events.

Shoehorning the immigration issue onto a hit and run accident--as though being illegal has any bearing on how one drives, or for that matter one's morals--really isn't necessary, and worse, clouds what are real problems with having too many people who don't belong here in the US.

And for the record, deleting the comments of those with whom you disagree is kinda cowardly. You called those folks at "Long Island Wins" out, and they each responded with their side of the story--which to me, seemed pretty reasonable, by the way. They write about the immigration issue, and their whole point--and mine, as well--is that this accident has nothing to do with the perp's immigration status, just as it wouldn't if he was native born, and the girls were illegal... ...or if Elias Garcia had been the bystander who chased the native-born perp down. (Show that he ran 'em down because of his status or theirs, and I'd be right there with you. But simply having an illegal involved doesn't make an issue an illegal immigration issue. It just doesn't...)

To call them out, but then delete their comments when they answer your call--and answer their comments after deleting them, besides--makes it look like you're afraid to take them on in a fair exchange of ideas.

It's your blog, and you can certainly moderate for content if you like, but as far as I'm concerned, it makes you look like you lack strength in your convictions. (And yeah, I know what my saying this likely means for my own comment(s)...)

Posted Tuesday, 25 May 2010 15:55 (Western Youth blog time)

In Reply: Driving While Honduran

In reply to: Long Island Loses - Youth for Western Civilization, a story about an illegal immigrant driver who jumped the curb and hit six girls... which the blogger in question sees as an issue of illegal immigration.

Yeah, sorry, but the perps's immigration status has about as much to do with the accident as whether or not he brushed his teeth that morning.

Illegal immigration is a complex issue, but demonizing any group involved, en mass--be they the illegals who come or those who want to enforce the laws that would curtail their being here (and I count myself in that latter group, for the most part)--is just a bad idea that will do nothing to make the situation any better.

Posted Tuesday, 25 May 2010 09:43 AM, (Western Youth blog time)

In reply: It's not what Rand Paul would've done then, but what he'd do in future, if elected

In reply to: Rand Paul sits down with Joe Arnold to address recent controversial statements - Louisville Blogs

With all due respect to Dr Paul, the issue isn't whether or not he's personally a bigot, or whether or not he would've voted for the Civil Rights Act all those years ago. The issue--illustrated by his answers to this hypothetical question about the CRA, but not really ABOUT the CRA--is how he'll vote the next time a law involving government action to regulate the proper use of "private property" that the owner chooses to open to the public.

In the course of this conversation, Dr. Paul has exposed the limits of his libertarian ideology, essentially admitting that government action--including that tenth section of the CRA which so troubles him--was necessary to end racial discrimination. There are some things that market forces alone won't solve.

As far as I'm concerned, THAT is the big take-away here, and I would hope that journalists and bloggers continue to ask Dr. Paul to flesh out his libertarian ideology by exposing it to real-world, practical issues, and how his ideology would affect their outcomes.

Comment posted May 25, 2010 at 1:31 AM (No links to individual comments)

Monday, May 24, 2010

In Reply: A Single (Dem/'pubbie) Victory in a Single State Race Doesn’t Change Anything.

In reply to: American Power: Republican Charles Djou Wins Hawaii Special Election: From Obama's Home District!, and in particular, the following passage:
William Galston, a left-leaning analyst, reiterates some points I made last week on the Critz win in PA-12, "A Single Democratic Victory in a Single Pennsylvania Race Doesn’t Change Anything."

So now that Republican Charles Djou has won in Hawaii, let's see how long it takes for the rest of the Democratic Media Complex to get honest and catch up with reality.

The difference of course is that there were many Republican bloggers and talking heads hailing the PA race as a bellweather of things to come... ...right up until the moment they realized that the Republican wasn't winning, when it became "just one teeny-tiny PA house race, that means nothing."

Show a similar number of folks ('pubbie or Dem) attaching the same importance to the HI race at any point in the process, and you'd actually be making a comparison.

The real issue, though, is one of consistency: Rather than making blanket statements about the "Democratic Media Complex" in the first place, why not compare/contrast what individual people left and right said before the race about it's political significance throughout the country with what those same people said afterwards.

For the record, I agree with Don's take, and acknowledge that he has been more or less consistent, throughout... 99% of all politics is local, so while I'm happier when the more liberal candidate in a given race wins and sadder when the more conservative candidate does, (and Cons feel just the opposite) I don't take either as a sign of anything broader than the confines of the constituency and circumstances in which the individual race took place.

Submitted for moderator approval May 24, 2010 6:10 AM (AmNeo blog time)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

In reply: If the 3 yo law in VA that targeted illegal immigrants like AZ's SB1070 was so good, why did VA change it?

In reply to: Moonhowlings - WaPo Says PWC Immigration Resolution Still Controversial

While I've cautiously supported the AZ law, I believe that Prince William county ended up with a far better law and means for enforcing it, and made those changes away from "probable cause" stops for the same reasons that keep me from fully embracing the AZ law.

If the goal is to deter crime, it's a far better idea to target a guy arrested for committing a crime rather than a guy who's dog barks too loudly... even if the second guy is actually in the country illegally. (And I'm still not sure that the AZ law doesn't prohibit questioning the immigration status of the neighbor who made the complaint about the barking dog, if HE in some way looks/acts as though he may not be here legally.)

Second, even though the AZ law probably is both constitutional and ethical on paper, enforcement will not occur in a vacuum. Law enforcement officers are just as human as the rest of us, and they bring their own prejudices and political/social beliefs with them into every encounter they have. There will be accusations of bigotry and of profiling, and just as with other alleged police misconduct (or if you prefer, workplace misconduct) at least a few of them will prove to be true.

While I am a liberal--often a far left liberal--I don't support open-borders or amnesty for everyone living here in the US illegally. Unless/until we can persuade other countries to join America (either figuratively or literally) and enact our laws and way of life, there has to be a line between "America" and "not America." While I'm still reading about how this particular VA law has worked, pro and con, I'm far more willing to support the law VA eventually enacted, rather than the one they started with... which is essentially the AZ law.

For those who're on twitter and the blogs echoing each other's crowing about this "Three year old law in Virginia [that] targets illegal immigrants much like Arizona's SB 1070," I have one question:

repsac3: If 3yo law in VA that targeted illegal immigrants like AZ's SB1070 was so good, why did VA change it?

Submitted for moderator approval May 23rd, 2010 at 12:05 pm (Moonhowlings blog time) Comment #11 (assuming it will appear).

Also blogging:
Excellent fact-check of the claims made in the KOLD News story I tweeted about --> Kynn's LJ - fact check: the Prince William County law similar to SB1070

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

CENSORED Needs Your Vote!!

UPDATE 5/26/10: Due to unforeseen circumstances involving CENSORED's job, she is unable to compete in the contest this post was about, and has requested that her friends sever all photos, videos, and other links between her and anything involving the contest in question. While I think it's a damned shame, I have no choice but to comply out of loyalty to her.

While I'd like to say plenty more about the backward-ass, holier-than-thou individuals and groups who are making this necessary, I shall refrain, again out of loyalty to my friend.

If you dig the pretty pictures, please help this beautiful lady by casting your vote for her in the LINK CENSORED contest.


While some of the professional models and post-teen teasers are pretty, my buddy CENSORED is the real-deal gal next door, and the only one in the contest who 1) entered herself, 2) owns the car she's enhancing with her presence, and 3) had her photos taken by the lucky bastard who married her.

And yes... While I think she's smokin' hot, period, she really is a "granny," too... seeing her win this thing against all those professional lookers and college girls would be extra special sweet.

So please... Enjoy the pictures, and then click that CENSORED link. Vote early, vote often. Vote. You know you want to... Do it. Vote.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

In reply: My Right to Damn Myself to Hell for Placing My Faith in My Chosen Scripture, Rather Than Yours

(...or waste my time by believing in those fairy-stories, at all....)

Revised and extended reply to several comments from "danieltumser" at the post, Video: Glenn Beck’s Liberty University Commencement Address-
The Right Scoop
(I offer no Beck content, here or there... For the most part, I don't take him or his conspiracy theories seriously enough to even write about... I hope the kids dug his speech, but I also hope they're smart enough to find and separate the tiny grains of truth from all the useless, fact-deficient chaff...):

Having had a very similar conversation with the same gentleman, I just wanted to say your replies were first-rate. While I'm more of a left-lib--and a believer, taboot--I'm good with America being a theistically pluralistic place, where every individual is free to practice whatever their faith or lack of it compels them (barring the obviously illegal and immoral, of course.) I'm even good with those who have beliefs other than my own trying to persuade me to believe as they do--I think it's healthy to exchange ideas and ideals with folks who ain't like you, whether it be religiously or politically or socially--but I have little patience with the openly intolerant. Those who start sentences with "(All) Christians are..." or "(All) Muslims need to..." or "(All) atheists hate..." (and stated or not, that "all" is ever-present and pretty obvious, besides) tend to be exhibiting their own intolerance of (and sometimes, bigotry toward) those not like them.

The fact is, most of us think we're on the one true path to enlightenment--and that everyone not walking our path... well... isn't--but I don't go in much for the folks who cannot help but point out that everyone who isn't of their particular faith (or lack of it) is heading for the flaming fires, or just wasting their time here on Earth, or whatever... Whether or not one's faith in G-d, the gods, or the scientific method teaches that that's true is kinda besides the point... Here in America anyway, all those idiots, heathens, and believers in fairy-tales have the God-given/natural right to put all their love and faith and trust in the wrong scriptures or set of beliefs. As far as I'm concerned, anyway, THAT'S what this country was in part founded on; my right to worship (or not) as I choose, and your right to worship (or not) as you choose.

(And to think I only stepped in because Greywolfe used the phrase "american nihilist" in one of his replies...)

The particular danieltumser comment that prompted the response above:

Oh, you want to ignore all the points I made and dive into quote mining? The fallacious tactic perfected by fundamentalist apologetics in matters of science? Okay.

"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion. . ." The Treaty of Tripoli, written under George Washington, ratified under John Adams

"Notwithstanding the general progress made within the two last centuries in favour of this branch of liberty, and the full establishment of it, and in some parts of our Country, there remains in others a strong bias towards the old error, that without some sort of alliance or coalition between Government and Religion neither can be duly supported: Such indeed is the tendency to such a coalition, and such its corrupting influence on both the parties, that the danger cannot be too carefully guarded against. . .and in a government of opinion, like ours, the only effectual guard must be found in the soundness and stability of the general opinion of the subject. Every new and successful example therefore of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance. And I have no doubt that every new example, will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together." James Madison

"It was the belief of all sects at one time that the establishment of Religion by law, was right and necessary; that the true religion ought to be established in exclusion of every other; and that the only question to be decided was which was the true religion. The example of HOlland proved that a toleration of sects, dissenting from the established sect, was safe and even useful. The example of the Colonies, now States, which rejected religious establishments altogether, proved that all Sects might be safely and advantageously put on a footing of equal and entire freedom. . .We are teaching the world the great truth that governments do better without Kings and Nobles than with them. The merit will be doubled by the other lesson that Religion flourishes in greater purity, without than with the aid of government." James Madison

"The purpose of seperation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries." - James Madison

"The question before the human race is, whether the God of Nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles?" - John Adams

"The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity. Nowhere in the gospels do we find a precept for Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Doctrines, and whole cartloads of other foolish trumpery that we find in Christianity." - John Adams

". . . Some books against Deism fell into my hands. . . It happened that they wrought an effect on my quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the Deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough Deist." - Benjamin Franklin

"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye to reason." - Ben Franklin

"Lighthouses are more helpful than churches." - Ben Franklin

I also have pages of research done from a recent term paper on Thomas Jefferson's secularization of the four Gospels in "The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth" including multiple letter excerpts to friends and colleagues on the subject thoroughly demonstrating that was no more a Christian than he was an Epicurean (reference, letter to William Short) and that is in the philosophic sense, not in the magical or metaphysical.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court did not found this nation. Nor does it have federal authority.

I've already responded to your false assumption that I am a flat out nihilist, if you insist continuing operating under that impression then you either suffer from a misapprehension or are arguing in bad faith, thinking that for some reason I am insincere at best.

If that's the case, please do tell, inform me what kind of nihilist I am, I'm dying to know, please tell me all about myself, I doubt you could sound any more cocksure and condescending if you tried.

My stance on the un-evidenced metaphysical requires no justification, it is a lack of any positive claim. It's potentially even a null hypothesis depending on how one would define the agnostic parts of disbelief. It is in fact your positive claims pertaining to the supernatural that require justification for a rational acceptance.

I can't resist, how do you justify your lack of belief in Zeus?
How do you justify your lack of belief in Odin?
How do you Justify your lack of belief in Minerva?
How do you Justify your lack of belief in Krishna?
How do you justify your lack of belief in the sun god Ra?
How do you justify your lack of belief in Ahura Mazda?
How do you justify your lack of belief in pixies, faeries, elves, leprechauns or Santa Claus?

None of those are faiths, like you assert I hold, they are lack of faith, but please put words in my mouth again.

Only one of my quotes really has any relevance in the legal context at all, and it is the binding Treaty of Tripoli, written under Washington and signed under Adams.

Only one of your quotations likewise has any relevance, though oddly it is directly contrary to the Establishment clause by Oliver Ellsworth, was it written as the prevailing opinion of a supreme court case while he was Chief Justice, or was it his personal opinion as a private citizen outside of his decisions as a judge? If the latter is the case, you could have cited Patrick Henry as well, one of many framers of the constitution who attempted to push your god into the wording and was rejected outright, and it would have as little meaning.

We could quote mine the founders all day and night, but it's still fallacious, what matters is the Constitution and the fact that Christianity is not the religion of the United States (government). We're a nation of (mostly) Christians, a nation founded by (mostly) Christians, but not a nation founded on Christianity.

One can be both religious in his personal beliefs, and secular in matters of governance, such was the case of our Founders, and is demanded of our judges. Neutral stance in conflicts of religion outside legal matters.

You also seem to be operating under the continued assumption that I have a political ideology greatly different from yourself. If you are a free market capitalist in favor of greatly limited government, which only draws authority from the consent of the governed, leaving private individuals alone save for when citizens engage in abuses against others, then you and I would be in agreement.

I've said it before and I feel I'll have to say it again, merely asserting something doesn't make it true, that goes for your god and for aspects of my character or ideology.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

In reply: Oil Spill: Was it an attack by North Korea?

In reply to: THE SWASH ZONE: Consider the Source

My favorite nutty conspiracy theory, as posted in a comment at a reactionary neocon site. (I won't name or link to it, but y'all know where I find most of my favorite wingnut news and views.) ((I wouldn't link to it at The Swash Zone, but I have no qualms about doing so here at my blog.))
"interesting take in the EU times. According to them, there's a kremlin report that says that our usurper in chief gave a blackout order on U.S. press coverage of an attack on the rig down in the gulf. N. korean mini-sub out of cuba.

Could be propaganda by the ruskies, but it would be par for the course for barry."
The commenter in question isn't lying about having read this in the EU Times -- US Orders Blackout Over North Korean Torpedoing Of Gulf Of Mexico Oil Rig | -- (though I'm given to understand that the story's a bit of satire originally written and posted elsewhere by an American trickster, and "borrowed without attribution" by the EU Times site.)

I guess there are folks who'll believe anything... ...and having spoken to this guy (the AmPow commenter, I mean) before, I'm not the least bit surprised he's buying into this... (Pleasant fellow, aside from being a bit paranoid and xenophobic...)

“We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.” - Anais Nin

Revised and extended from a comment submitted for Zoner approval on/at 5/2/10, 2:51 AM (shared time zone)

Saturday, May 01, 2010

In reply: "18 to party, 21 to drink"

In reply to: Brain Rage: Lowering The Drinking Age To 18

Some of us--in fact everyone who's commented here 'cept the author, I think--stands a fairly good chance of having been legally drinkin' at 18.

I know I was--for about four months (08/'82-01/'83), when NY law pushed the age to 19. After an eight month wait ('till 08/'83), I got me another eleven months of legal juice-induced frivolity... ...until 07/'84, when the national age went to 21, and I was left legally dry for another thirteen months, until 08/'85. There was no grandfathering us unfortunates into the bars, either... ...although that's when those "18 to party, 21 to drink" wristbands and hand stamps first came into play, at least here in NY...

Of course, all that only affected legal drinkin'. I spent much of those formative mid-thru-just-post teen years hangin' out at my friend's family-owned pizza joint, where the beer was not only surreptitiously flowing, but generally had for the price of "watchin' the front, while I go take a piss.". or "I'm really wasted... Don't let me forget I have a pie in the oven." and helping out with the closing-time clean-up, if one was there. (And don't even get me started on some-o'them other intoxicants. It was the late 70's-mid-80's. We partook of those reality-influencing embellishments what was popular, then... though it didn't take me long to learn that most of 'em--particularly those white lines that seemed to be the drug of choice in the big 80's, even among some of the folks in my circle--weren't my beer and a bud, which in retrospect, is an awful good thing, especially if I always had the heart arrhythmia I was diagnosed with in '06. If so, doing that shit coulda easily killed me right dead on the first try. Fortunately, I was both thrifty, and kinda grossed out by the prospect of sticking much of anything up my nose.)

As far as the question at hand, I've always subscribed to the "either you're an adult or you ain't" philosophy that says if you can risk dying to serve your country, you ought to be able to hoist a "cheers" to her as well, but as I recall, the changes in drunk driving statistics involving that age group (arrests, injuries, fatalities) in the years after the laws changed were pretty impressive, so I'm just not sure I'd want to go back.

(Let's put it this way... I'd be more inclined to favor raising the age at which one can begin serving in the military, if I was to want to right that discrepancy between raising a glass vs raising a gun for one's country... The statistics on dead and injured 18-20 year olds in that group can be pretty staggering sometimes, as well.)

Revised and extended from a comment posted to Brain Rage on/at May 1, 2010, 6:29 AM (Brain Rage blog time)
----- Added, 5:20 PM -----

And in reply to this (11:23 AM, BRbt),:
I hear you Reppy and my standard reply to that line of thinking is to ask 'Why not then raise the age to 25? Or 28, or 30?' Surely fatalities and accidents would decrease, albeit at a slightly decreasing level as driving and drinking experience increases.

I guess because I see it as a question of civil rights I'm pretty black or white on this one too: if you're an adult then you're an adult. With increased responsibility should come increased privileges. That's how I see it anyway.
this (1:45 PM (BRbt).:

"if you're an adult then you're an adult."

As I said, I'm with you there... I guess I'm just not so sure whether enough of us is an adult by age 18 or not. I'd never advocate moving the age of maturity up past 21... (at least not unless 21 year olds started actin' like they was 18, en mass.)

I agree that there ought to be one age or criteria for all of those "adult" rights and responsibilities--and perhaps having to show your HS diploma instead of your state ID would be a good one, in some ways--but I'm just not so sure that if we're using age, 18 is the age to use. (And I'm not sure it isn't, either, though I do find those motor vehicle statistics, not to mention my recollections about 18-21 year olds, including myself, as being pretty compelling.)

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