Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Davy Crockett vs. Welfare

Most of us probably have a vision of Davy Crockett as an backwoods adventurer and soldier who roamed the country wearing his coon skin hat and died defending The Alamo. You may not know that Colonel David Crockett was also a distinguished member of Congress representing his home state of Tennessee.

Normally, I would just post a link but this story merits its own full post. Thanks to Griff for the link.

The story is excerpted from The Life of Colonel David Crockett by Edward S. Ellis:

Crockett was then the lion of Washington. I was a great admirer of his character, and, having several friends who were intimate with him, I found no difficulty in making his acquaintance. I was fascinated with him, and he seemed to take a fancy to me.

I was one day in the lobby of the House of Representatives when a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in its support – rather, as I thought, because it afforded the speakers a fine opportunity for display than from the necessity of convincing anybody, for it seemed to me that everybody favored it. The Speaker was just about to put the question when Crockett arose. Everybody expected, of course, that he was going to make one of his characteristic speeches in support of the bill. He commenced:

"Mr. Speaker – I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the sufferings of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased. Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was in office to the day of his death, and I have never heard that the government was in arrears to him. This government can owe no debts but for services rendered, and at a stipulated price. If it is a debt, how much is it? Has it been audited, and the amount due ascertained? If it is a debt, this is not the place to present it for payment, or to have its merits examined. If it is a debt, we owe more than we can ever hope to pay, for we owe the widow of every soldier who fought in the War of 1812 precisely the same amount. There is a woman in my neighborhood, the widow of as gallant a man as ever shouldered a musket. He fell in battle. She is as good in every respect as this lady, and is as poor. She is earning her daily bread by her daily labor; but if I were to introduce a bill to appropriate five or ten thousand dollars for her benefit, I should be laughed at, and my bill would not get five votes in this House. There are thousands of widows in the country just such as the one I have spoken of, but we never hear of any of these large debts to them. Sir, this is no debt. The government did not owe it to the deceased when he was alive; it could not contract it after he died. I do not wish to be rude, but I must be plain. Every man in this House knows it is not a debt. We cannot, without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as a charity. Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much of our own money as we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week's pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks."

He took his seat. Nobody replied. The bill was put upon its passage, and, instead of passing unanimously, as was generally supposed, and as, no doubt, it would, but for that speech, it received but few votes, and, of course, was lost.

Like many other young men, and old ones, too, for that matter, who had not thought upon the subject, I desired the passage of the bill, and felt outraged at its defeat. I determined that I would persuade my friend Crockett to move a reconsideration the next day.

Previous engagements preventing me from seeing Crockett that night, I went early to his room the next morning and found him engaged in addressing and franking letters, a large pile of which lay upon his table.

I broke in upon him rather abruptly, by asking him what devil had possessed him to make that speech and defeat that bill yesterday. Without turning his head or looking up from his work, he replied:

"You see that I am very busy now; take a seat and cool yourself. I will be through in a few minutes, and then I will tell you all about it."

He continued his employment for about ten minutes, and when he had finished he turned to me and said:

"Now, sir, I will answer your question. But thereby hangs a tale, and one of considerable length, to which you will have to listen."

I listened, and this is the tale which I heard:

Several years ago I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some other members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast as we could. When we got there, I went to work, and I never worked as hard in my life as I did there for several hours. But, in spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made homeless, and, besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many women and children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them, and everybody else seemed to feel the same way.

The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done. I said everybody felt as I did. That was not quite so; for, though they perhaps sympathized as deeply with the sufferers as I did, there were a few of the members who did not think we had the right to indulge our sympathy or excite our charity at the expense of anybody but ourselves. They opposed the bill, and upon its passage demanded the yeas and nays. There were not enough of them to sustain the call, but many of us wanted our names to appear in favor of what we considered a praiseworthy measure, and we voted with them to sustain it. So the yeas and nays were recorded, and my name appeared on the journals in favor of the bill.

The next summer, when it began to be time to think about the election, I concluded I would take a scout around among the boys of my district. I had no opposition there, but, as the election was some time off, I did not know what might turn up, and I thought it was best to let the boys know that I had not forgot them, and that going to Congress had not made me too proud to go to see them.

So I put a couple of shirts and a few twists of tobacco into my saddlebags, and put out. I had been out about a week and had found things going very smoothly, when, riding one day in a part of my district in which I was more of a stranger than any other, I saw a man in a field plowing and coming toward the road. I gauged my gait so that we should meet as he came to the fence. As he came up I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but, as I thought, rather coldly, and was about turning his horse for another furrow when I said to him: "Don't be in such a hurry, my friend; I want to have a little talk with you, and get better acquainted."

He replied: "I am very busy, and have but little time to talk, but if it does not take too long, I will listen to what you have to say."

I began: "Well, friend, I am one of those unfortunate beings called candidates, and – "

"'Yes, I know you; you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine. I shall not vote for you again.'

This was a sockdolager... I begged him to tell me what was the matter.

"Well, Colonel, it is hardly worthwhile to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in honesty and firmness to be guided by it. In either case you are not the man to represent me. But I beg your pardon for expressing it in that way. I did not intend to avail myself of the privilege of the Constitution to speak plainly to a candidate for the purpose of insulting or wounding you. I intend by it only to say that your understanding of the Constitution is very different from mine; and I will say to you what, but for my rudeness, I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest. But an understanding of the Constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the more honest he is."

"I admit the truth of all you say, but there must be some mistake about it, for I do not remember that I gave any vote last winter upon any constitutional question."

"No, Colonel, there's no mistake. Though I live here in the backwoods and seldom go from home, I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings of Congress. My papers say that last winter you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some sufferers by a fire in Georgetown. Is that true?"

"Certainly it is, and I thought that was the last vote which anybody in the world would have found fault with."

"Well, Colonel, where do you find in the Constitution any authority to give away the public money in charity?"

Here was another sockdolager; for, when I began to think about it, I could not remember a thing in the Constitution that authorized it. I found I must take another tack, so I said:

"Well, my friend; I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing Treasury, and I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just as I did."

"It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing to do with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means. What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government. So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he. If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. If twice as many houses had been burned in this county as in Georgetown, neither you nor any other member of Congress would have thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief. There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week's pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men in and around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life. The Congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from the necessity of giving by giving what was not yours to give. The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution."

I have given you an imperfect account of what he said. Long before he was through, I was convinced that I had done wrong. He wound up by saying:

"So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you."

I tell you I felt streaked. I saw if I should have opposition, and this man should go talking, he would set others to talking, and in that district I was a gone fawn-skin. I could not answer him, and the fact is, I did not want to. But I must satisfy him, and I said to him:

"Well, my friend, you hit the nail upon the head when you said I had not sense enough to understand the Constitution. I intended to be guided by it, and thought I had studied it full. I have heard many speeches in Congress about the powers of Congress, but what you have said there at your plow has got more hard, sound sense in it than all the fine speeches I ever heard. If I had ever taken the view of it that you have, I would have put my head into the fire before I would have given that vote; and if you will forgive me and vote for me again, if I ever vote for another unconstitutional law I wish I may be shot."

He laughingly replied:

"Yes, Colonel, you have sworn to that once before, but I will trust you again upon one condition. You say that you are convinced that your vote was wrong. Your acknowledgment of it will do more good than beating you for it. If, as you go around the district, you will tell people about this vote, and that you are satisfied it was wrong, I will not only vote for you, but will do what I can to keep down opposition, and, perhaps, I may exert some little influence in that way."

"If I don't," said I, "I wish I may be shot; and to convince you that I am in earnest in what I say, I will come back this way in a week or ten days, and if you will get up a gathering of the people, I will make a speech to them. Get up a barbecue, and I will pay for it."

"No, Colonel, we are not rich people in this section, but we have plenty of provisions to contribute for a barbecue, and some to spare for those who have none. The push of crops will be over in a few days, and we can then afford a day for a barbecue. This is Thursday; I will see to getting it up on Saturday week. Come to my house on Friday, and we will go together, and I promise you a very respectable crowd to see and hear you."

"Well, I will be here. But one thing more before I say good-bye. I must know your name."

"My name is Bunce."

"Not Horatio Bunce?"


"Well, Mr. Bunce, I never saw you before, though you say you have seen me; but I know you very well. I am glad I have met you, and very proud that I may hope to have you for my friend. You must let me shake your hand before I go."

We shook hands and parted.

It was one of the luckiest hits of my life that I met him. He mingled but little with the public, but was widely known for his remarkable intelligence and incorruptible integrity, and for a heart brimful and running over with kindness and benevolence, which showed themselves not only in words but in acts. He was the oracle of the whole country around him, and his fame had extended far beyond the circle of his immediate acquaintance. Though I had never met him before, I had heard much of him, and but for this meeting it is very likely I should have had opposition, and had been beaten. One thing is very certain, no man could now stand up in that district under such a vote.

At the appointed time I was at his house, having told our conversation to every crowd I had met, and to every man I stayed all night with, and I found that it gave the people an interest and a confidence in me stronger than I had ever seen manifested before.

Though I was considerably fatigued when I reached his house, and, under ordinary circumstances, should have gone early to bed, I kept him up until midnight, talking about the principles and affairs of government, and got more real, true knowledge of them than I had got all my life before.

I have told you Mr. Bunce converted me politically. He came nearer converting me religiously than I had ever been before. He did not make a very good Christian of me, as you know; but he has wrought upon my mind a conviction of the truth of Christianity, and upon my feelings a reverence for its purifying and elevating power such as I had never felt before.

I have known and seen much of him since, for I respect him – no, that is not the word – I reverence and love him more than any living man, and I go to see him two or three times every year; and I will tell you, sir, if everyone who professes to be a Christian lived and acted and enjoyed it as he does, the religion of Christ would take the world by storm.

But to return to my story. The next morning we went to the barbecue, and, to my surprise, found about a thousand men there. I met a good many whom I had not known before, and they and my friend introduced me around until I had got pretty well acquainted – at least, they all knew me.

In due time notice was given that I would speak to them. They gathered around a stand that had been erected. I opened my speech by saying:

"Fellow citizens – I present myself before you today feeling like a new man. My eyes have lately been opened to truths which ignorance or prejudice, or both, had heretofore hidden from my view. I feel that I can today offer you the ability to render you more valuable service than I have ever been able to render before. I am here today more for the purpose of acknowledging my error than to seek your votes. That I should make this acknowledgment is due to myself as well as to you. Whether you will vote for me is a matter for your consideration only."

I went on to tell them about the fire and my vote for the appropriation as I have told it to you, and then told them why I was satisfied it was wrong. I closed by saying:

"And now, fellow citizens, it remains only for me to tell you that the most of the speech you have listened to with so much interest was simply a repetition of the arguments by which your neighbor, Mr. Bunce, convinced me of my error.

"It is the best speech I ever made in my life, but he is entitled to the credit of it. And now I hope he is satisfied with his convert and that he will get up here and tell you so."

He came upon the stand and said:

"Fellow citizens – It affords me great pleasure to comply with the request of Colonel Crockett. I have always considered him a thoroughly honest man, and I am satisfied that he will faithfully perform all that he has promised you today."

He went down, and there went up from the crowd such a shout for Davy Crockett as his name never called forth before.

I am not much given to tears, but I was taken with a choking then and felt some big drops rolling down my cheeks. And I tell you now that the remembrance of those few words spoken by such a man, and the honest, hearty shout they produced, is worth more to me than all the honors I have received and all the reputation I have ever made, or ever shall make, as a member of Congress.

"Now, Sir," concluded Crockett, "you know why I made that speech yesterday. I have had several thousand copies of it printed and was directing them to my constituents when you came in.

"There is one thing now to which I will call your attention. You remember that I proposed to give a week's pay. There are in that House many very wealthy men – men who think nothing of spending a week's pay, or a dozen of them for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Some of those same men made beautiful speeches upon the great debt of gratitude which the country owed the deceased – a debt which could not be paid by money, particularly so insignificant a sum as $10,000, when weighed against the honor of the nation. Yet not one of them responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it."

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Insane In The Brain

Even though my expectations of Fox News are pretty low, I wouldn't have expected them to publish this article.

I guess this is typical Neo-Con thinking now so I shouldn't be at all surprised. This guy wants a 10%, one year income tax surcharge to pay for Katrina relief.

The author, Frost, remembers fondly that LBJ asked for a one year 10% tax to be enacted in 1968 and he was happy to pay it because it was his patriotic duty.

Frost dismisses the possibility of simply cutting Federal spending because, "Forcing big cuts through Congress would force vulnerable Republican Congressmen to cast hard votes that might jeopardize their re-election chances in 2006." Oh, what a shame that would be. So we're supposed to be willing to pay a 10% surcharge so that the Neo-Con cabal can maintain their grip on power?

It doesn't seem to cross Frosts mind that FedGov shouldn't be giving out our tax money at all to rebuild a city that was predictably destroyed by an easily foreseeable natural disaster. The state should have planned for that all along.

Frost also doesn't seem to consider that we are far more heavily taxed now than we were in 1968, not to mention the fact that inflation has eaten up most of our savings and middle America just doesn't have the reserves to pay for it.

Despite the assertions from Tom DeLay that there isn't much fat left in the Federal budget to slice off, the American people need to wake up and start demanding that we cut the pork. Let's also put a moratorium on any further Federal spending to rebuild cities after a natural disaster. This will force cities and states to plan for their own rebuilding and force them to be responsible for their own well-being.

update: MikeT takes my rant and runs over at Blind Mind's Eye. Give it a read.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

No Pity

An initial reading of the plight of a Massachusets man named David Parker, it would be easy to let your blood boil over the injustice being done to him and his son.

Parker was arrested after refusing to leave until the school promised to notify him when any "diversity" related teaching was happening. In this case diversity is just a nice way of saying "homosexual indoctrination."

True, he shouldn't have been arrested. The reason I have no pity for him stems from this line in the story: "Following the meeting in which he was arrested, Parker was also ordered to keep off school grounds. He says he is not even permitted to pick up his own child from the school."

Did you catch that? If he's not permitted to pick up his child from that school, it means that his son is still attending. My first reaction to this problem would have been to promptly and with extreme prejudice, pull my child out of that school.

I pity the son but I don't pity the father.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Clubbing Refugees

No! I don't mean clubbing like you do to baby seals:

I mean clubbing as in going to a nightclub.

A refugee of Hurricane Katrina was gunned down less than a mile from the Red Cross shelter he was staying at in Chattanooga after LEAVING A NIGHT CLUB. Police suspect he was killed in order to steal his relief money.

What was this guy doing at a night club when he's living in a shelter and living off of money given by tax payers and private donations? Shouldn't he have been saving his money to buy, oh, I don't know, new clothes or perhaps some food of his own?

It's possible I'm rushing to judgement here and he was using his own money accumulated prior to the storm. But if he is, what the heck is he doing taking money from the Red Cross? There are other people that need it more.

Maybe we should start clubbing refugees.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


I am still doing some computer consulting on the side and one of my clients called me yesterday in a panic and told me that one of the computers in her office had been hacked. She sat down at her desk and her mouse was moving around, programs were opening and closing and some one appeared to be going through her email.

My client has a business that could make her a target for identity theft. To compound the fear, she just fired someone and the circumstances were not friendly. Even further, her virus definition files were out of date by about 3 weeks because her Norton subscription expired.

I couldn't get to the client until about 8:00 last night and I spent an hour trying to track down where the intrusion might have come from and what was running on the server. Much to my frustration I simply couldn't find any evidence of an intrusion. Since the intruder was controlling her computer during working hours, I figured it wasn't a sophisticated hack.

I finally gave up and went to tell my client that I couldn't find anything. Just as I was about to tell her that, a voice from the ether (not the ethernet) whispered in my ear "wireless mouse."

What? Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, nowwwwwwwww I get it. I mentioned to the client that it could have been someone's wireless mouse might have been interfering with hers. She said, "It's funny that you should mention that. Mindy was having trouble with her wireless mouse this morning. I changed the batteries and it still wasn't working.

It turns out there was no intrusion. We got a good laugh out of it though. I think I'm going to buy her a mouse trap just to be funny.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Rainbow In The Southland

Strange weather down here in the south end of Orange County, CA. Back in MN this would start looking like tornado weather. The picture below is a rainbow I caught while facing south east at about 6:45 PM. The second picture is from the back of my office facing due west less than 15 minutes later. The edge of the clouds looks to be about 3 or 4 miles out over the ocean. There is usually something of a breeze down here and the air is dead calm; it's eerie.

As always, click on picture for larger version. Taken with camera phone, sorry for low quality.


Sunday, September 18, 2005

How Do We Know?

Al Gore seems to think that climate change is responsible for Hurrcaine Katrina. How does Gore, or anyone else for that matter know the answer to the following questions:

  1. How can we know for certain that human activity causes global wamring?
  2. How do we know that global warming (no matter its source) isn't ultimately beneficial to the Earth? Warmer climates mean better growing seasons which means higher food output.
  3. Assuming that we are causing global warming and that it is actually harmful, how do we put a stop to it short of totalitarian rule of the Earth?

Vikings Where Art Thou?

In the 4th quarter with about 13 minutes left to play, the Vikings are getting smeared by the Cincinnati Bengals 34-0.

How does this happen? Unbelievable. It's the freaking Bengals!

Maybe they'll pull a reversal this year and start the season weak and finish strong.

Friday, September 16, 2005

What A Great Job!

I realized today that I have a great job; I'm in the mortgage industry. It's not so much that I'm really excited about writing home loans but yesterday I said to my co-workers, "I'm bringing my gun to work tomorrow." Instead of freaking out and calling the police, one said, "Cool!" My boss said, "Well, I'm bringing several guns and about 1000 rounds of ammo."

The funny part is, we weren't kidding. We showed up at work today with our guns.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Beer of Choice

A friend of mine created this. I think it's hillarious. click picture for large version

Fixing America II

It took a while but I wanted to comment on all of your suggestions for Fixing America.

First up is JenE's comments in this post:

Her first suggestion was to end the war on drugs. Bravo JenE, I couldn't agree more. Not only is it a waste of time or resources, it just plain doesn't work. Social stigma is the way to reduce drug use.

Next she said, "Secondly, reduce the amount of money our public legislators receive in salary and benefits."

Sure, they get paid too much but reducing their pay isn't going to do much to fix thing. Let's fry the bigger fish first.

JenE goes down in flames by saying, "Next, we'll quit allowing American corporations to set up offshore accounts to avoid paying American taxes. I call that aiding and abetting a felony. Tax evasion is a felony offense, isn't it?"

Corporations don't pay taxes, the costs simply get passed on to the consumers of their goods and services. Furthermore, tax evasion and tax avoidance are two different things. It is the moral duty of every citizen to avoid paying taxes as much as legally possible. Setting up off shore companies is a very legitimate method of asset protection and ultimately reduces what we pay for goods and services. You've got to thing these things through JenE.

She steps it back up a notch. Thus quoth the JenE: "Fourthly, quit dumping so much money into the mating rituals of the North American Pink Polka-dotted Bumblebee and other such [un]worthy causes."

Pork, pork, pork. Cut it, slash it, burn it. House Majority Leader, Tom DeLay doesn't think there is any more pork to cut though. It is my personal belief that FedGov could be cut by about 90%.

JenE crashes and burns again by saying, "Step Five would be to go back to the paper voting system. And ditch the electoral college. Popular vote wins the game."

Jen, Jen, Jen. Without an electoral college, our entire Federal election system would be controlled by New York and California. Please go pick up a copy of The Federalist Papers and see why the founders loathed the idea of direct democracy. We do need some election reform and we should have verifiable ballots but getting rid of the electoral college is a bad idea unless you just want to eliminate all state boundaries and have FedGov run everything. I realize we're headed that direction but it's wrong. We need to get back to the days of more state sovereignty and local control. FedGov needs to step back.

Back and forth JenE, make up your mind. Do you want to be a mindless liberal or a sensible libertarian? You said, "Step Six, border control. I won't beat that dead horse."

Seal the border. Enough said.

Slipping in to irrelevancy you said, "I think one of the job requirements for becoming President of our fair land should be military experience."

Didn't I say something earlier about having bigger fish to fry?

Addressing parental responsibility JenE says, "Step Eight: let us spank our kids, again! I know some of us still do (shh! don't tell), and I'll bet those kids fear their parents."

Spank early, spank often! Seriously though, I think many parents have given up on the idea of parenting because they expect that the schools, day care centers etc. will do that job for them. In many cases parents have just given up hope. They spend so little time with their children and then express dismay when they don't turn out to be decent people. Parental and personal responsibility is the larger issue and spanking is just a component of that but you nailed it Jen.

JenE ends on a high note. "Speaking of repeat offenders...Number Nine. We're going back to the penal system, here. Criminals- hardened criminals- also no longer know any fear. Cable television, cuisine, high-tech weight training systems- all things that need to go."

Not only do we coddle criminals, we let them back out on to the street too early. This is mostly the result of the Democrats that JenE has been voting for. Prison is about justice and punishment, not rehabilitation. On the other hand, we have far too many laws. So many things are illegal that shouldn't be. Every law should have a sunset provision of 10 years maximum. If it is not specifically re-enacted, it goes away and anyone currently under punishment as a result of breaking that law is released (probation, prision, what ever).

That's all for now. I'll address MikeT's comments next time.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Federal Sanity

In a rare moment of Federal sanity, the commander of active duty troops for the Katrina relief effort said that Federal troops will NOT be involved in forced evacuations ordered by the mayor of New Orleans.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Unintended Conequences

FEMA will soon be issuing debit cards of $2000 each to Katrina victims.

In their effort to make political points, issuing these debit cards will have a couple of unintended consequences.

  1. People will stay longer at the Astrodome because of the money than they would if there were no help at all. If no aid was expected, many people would disperse to other parts of the country to go find jobs and start rebuilding their lives. With promises of more and more aid, people will stay longer rather than make the effort to forgo aid and put effort in to moving on.
  2. It's my guess that there will be significant theft and murder related to not only these debit cards but other cash grants for the refugees who are (as I pointed out above) sitting around waiting for a handout.

There are people who really have no choice other than to wait for help the resources for those who really need help will be consumed by those who are not as needy.

The relief effort can and should be seen an accelerated example of the rise and fall of a welfare state. People will be talking for years about what should have been done to make it better and it will never cross their minds that it was doomed from the start and we wasted billions upon billions of dollars in tax money trying to fix something that should have been taken care of through private means.

**Sorry for the slow blogging; I've been visiting my parents with Little Dif and I just haven't been spending much time on the Internet.

Monday, September 05, 2005

This Makes Me Nervous

Bush has is already trying to nominate Roberts to Chief Justice in the wake of Rehnquists death.

Why would he do this? He doesn't even know how Roberts is going to behave on the bench. He should be promoting Clarence Thomas. Even if Bush just wanted to be a political opportunist he would nominate Thomas to be the first black Supreme Court Justice.

I don't believe that Roberts is cut from the same cloth as either Rehnquist or Thomas. I am nervous.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Good Bye Justice Rehnquist

Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist died Saturday evening.

Your Honor, you were a bright spot on our court and in our nation. You will be sorely missed.

I leave it to others in the Blogosphere to dissect his record. Speculation about his replacement and political wrangling will begin very soon. I dread who comes next.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Stop The Insurgents

The media, if it were doing it's duty would start referring to the thugs roaming New Orleans as 'insurgents'. They won't of course for fear of being labled 'racists'.

Let's look at the facts though. You've got armed thugs roaming the streets, shoot at rescuers, medical convoys etc. and the media is still referring to them politely as 'refugees'.

There are refugees, but those that would rescue them are being held off by the insurgents.

Let's start calling these people what they are.

**Note: I don't believe we should be calling them terrorists. Terrorists engage in organized campaigns of death and destruction for political or religious ends. These punks roaming the streets are not even close being terrorists.

Hurricane Solution

Ok, it's just before 1:30 AM and I can't quite get to sleep yet and it's clear I haven't actually thought this through but I'm going to throw it out there anyway.

My rudimentary understanding of hurricanes tells me that they gather strength from warm waters, high humidity and light winds.

My solution is fairly simple but probably very expensive. Since it's not practical to try and actually cool the water, we could simply try and cool the air in the path of the storm.

Why not create large (but portable) devices that had no other purpose in life than to pump out massive amounts of super cooled air in to the path of storm? It's also possible (due to storm mechanics) that this must be done from behind the storm too which would make the task much safer for all involved.

With cold air being forced across the surface of water where the storm gathers it's 'fuel', the pressure system would be destroyed and the hurricane should dissipate or at least be reduced to a tropical storm.

There are more details to be worked out here and quite a bit of engineering would have to be done. As slow as hurricanes move though, I would think there would be plenty of time to mobilize, load the super coolers on to ships and put them in place. The coolers could be fueled by the plentiful oil supply in the Gulf of Mexico.

Even though the plan is expensive, it's got to be a heck of a lot cheaper than rebuilding New Orleans.

The initial project could be funded by a stupid tax on those who choose to live in the direct path of hurricanes (yes, that means you mom and dad).