Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Beggers being choosers

We all know the old saying "beggers can't be choosers." Apparently, in Kenya, they can.

"NAIROBI (AFP) - Officials in drought-stricken Kenya recoiled with outrage to a plan by a New Zealand woman to send "dog food" for starving children, even as she said the product was fit for human consumption.Describing the idea as "absurd," "insulting," "offensive" and "immoral," officials vehemently rejected the donation for children threatened by famine and said they would put measures in place to prevent any similar assistance.

The would-be donor, Christine Drummond, has told the New Zealand media her donation differed from the pet food, though made with the same ingredients, and she and her children eat it."

I doubt the people who are starving really care about what they're eating or who their food comes from. But hey, we can't lose face in front of the world, even if it means some of our citizens will die.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Update on Joke of the Day...

...found here. Wow...I'll just point you to the post below and reference Dane Cook again.

h/t - Glenn.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Right to Defense

I spotted an interesting headline on Yahoo this evening..."Wyo. a Battleground in Deadly Force Debate." Of course, anything to do with "deadly force" piqued my libertarian interest, since I firmly believe in an individual's right to defend themselves against an attack on their life or property with force, deadly or otherwise. I thought I was reasonably well versed on this subject, which is why I was surprised to see that the news story had to do with a law being pushed in Wyoming that would specify that people have no duty to retreat from an attacker before using deadly force.

Pardon my language, but what the frack?!? According to the article, half of the states in our union have laws that specify this fact; that you cannot use deadly force unless you attempt to retreat. Which would mean, basically, the only time you are sanctioned to us deadly force is if you are left with no other option. In other words, if I witness a crime in progress, I am not allowed to use "deadly force" to resolve the situation unless someone's life is in danger. While this sounds like it might be a good law, so to speak, it means in effect that regular citizens would not be allowed to use firearms to defend their lives or property unless their life was in direct danger. We're just supposed to call the police and wait while our property is taken instead of being able to intervene.

Remember, government is your friend/protector/parent/nanny. You don't need to do anything to protect yourself because we'll protect you from anyone and anything, including yourself.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Joke of the day

Courtesy of the AP, here's today's joke of the day: "Sheehan Considers Challenging Feinstein." That's right, you heard it here first...famed anti-war protestor Cindy Sheehan is seriously considering running against our lovely Senator from California, Dianne Feinstein. When asked for reasons why to run against Feinstein, Sheehan listed Feinstein's "vote of support for the war, and continued votes in favor of funding and refusal to call for an immediate withdrawal of troops."

Wow. Again, wow. This woman really has no clue, at all. And here's the best part: she made this statement in Caracas, which as you might know, is part of Hugo Chavez's utopian workers paradise. The occasion in Caracas was the World Social Forum. Anyway, Ms. Sheehan really has no clue about the politics of people in this country. Just because you are a darling of the media and a convenient tool of the left does not mean that most people in this country like you, or will even tolerate you.

I'll let Dane Cook provide the final word: "I want to think about doing something so outrageous, so crazy, so completely off the wall that it provokes people to say, "Are you out of your fuckin' mind?!?" And then I want to actually do the thing, so that people will say, "You ARE out of your fuckin' mind!!"

And this is the territory where Ms. Sheehan is treading.

Friday, January 27, 2006


To finish out tonight's round of posting, I came across an interesting couple of articles at af.mil, the Air Force's web portal. The first is a very good summary of why I've chosen to enter the military. Make no mistake about it, I'm not doing ROTC for the money (as I reference obliquely below, there are occasions where I feel like I should be doing more to "get in the fight," so to speak, by enlisting instead of going to college for 5 years...but that's a different story). Yes, that's a nice benefit, but I'm doing it because I want to serve, I want to be something bigger than myself. Actually, now that I being this subject up, I've already written on this subject as part of the Tiger program. So I'll let those two writings speak for themselves.

"I know that I want to make a career out of serving in the armed forces. Quite honestly, the scholarship and financial aid have little to do with it. They are nice, but I would still pursue a commission even if I was not awarded a scholarship. If I was unable to pursue a commission, I would enlist.

Service has always been something that is near to my heart. For me, a life without service is a life without purpose. Service gives me a feeling of belonging to something greater than myself. One of the highest forms of service is being willing to lay down your life for your fellow citizens so they do not have to. I have chosen this course of action. I want to be the one that is willing to serve so that others in our country may live free without having to defend that freedom themselves."


"I am willing to lay down my life for my fellow citizens because I do not want them to have to. I want to be the one who has made the conscious choice to sacrifice my life to defend my country and the cause of freedom so that others can make the choice not to. As an Officer in the USAF, I will swear an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States, against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” It is this Constitution which gives us all the choice to serve, or not to serve, to protest, or not to protest. The one thing all Americans have in common is the Constitution which gives us our wonderful freedom; as such, I serve to defend ALL Americans. Not just those who share my politics, and not just those of my ethnic group. I serve all Americans, whether they are black, white, or anything in between; whether they are Republican, Democrat, or a raving loony leftist. It does not matter, for they are all Americans and by that virtue, I am willing to sacrifice my life for them so they do not have to sacrifice their own."

And that's about it. That's why I want to serve, why I'm willing to pursue a profession that means I might have to lay down my life for all of our fellow citizens. Because, after all, John Stuart Mill said it best:

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded
state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing is worth war is much
worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing
which is more important than his own personal safety is a miserable creature
and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of
better men than himself."

That's a favorite of a lot of guys around Det. 250 (our AFROTC unit), and rightly so, for it sums up a lot of what we do and what we believe in.

Finally, lest any of you think the Air Force isn't getting in the fight, a few things. First, two names: SrA Jason D. Cunningham, and TSgt. John Chapman. The medal citations speak for themselves. Second, the reason for bringing this subject up: a series of pictures I also found on af.mil. Here's a link to the pictures, and here's a select few that I feel convey the message.

Images that we see too often, but this time, if you were able to look closely at the uniforms, you would notice one difference. These fighting men wear the insignia of the USAF. In case you were wondering, these photographs were taken at a memorial service for TSgt. Jason L. Norton and SSgt. Brian McElroy, two Security Forces airmen who were killed a few days ago by a roadside bomb in Iraq.

(As a programming note to my regular readers, scroll down a bit, because I've done a lot of posting tonight, quite a bit more than my usual norm.)

Thanks to Mudville's open post!

Electing terrorists

I would have banged out a much more thought provoking post on Hamas and the elections, but homework and other interests (i.e.- eating pizza while listening to Dane Cook in a friend's dorm room) intervened, so here's a shortie to tide you over until the weekend when I'll hopefully have a bit of time to put something together. First, this supposed "analysis" by the AP gets a lot of things wrong, especially if, as I believe, Bush is largely basing his foreign policy off of Natan Sharansky's tenets put forth in his book. However, I leave it to you the reader to figure out what exactly those errors are (at least, until I put together a larger post.) To help, I point you to this previous post; specifically, the first two paragraphs.

Random Comments

So I was doing some digging for an old post (it should be referenced in the post above this one), and I came across a comment on this post. Mind you, this is a post from last January...almost a year ago. The comment I'm referencing was written in September of this past year, 6 months after the original post. I have no idea how "You forgot that he's brought more instability to an area, pissed away America's deficit, repeatedly lied to the American people, killed hundreds and thousands while "liberating" (cough for oil, cough) these countries. You're an easily duped asshat fucknozzle but hey, Bush prays on unintelligent, unworldly, uneducated fucknuts like you so keep up the good work ignoramus, at least when this country is in shambles and the realization he's ruined the greatest country in the world comes out you'll be too damn stupid to notice."

Two points: I hate many things that Bush and the government as a whole does...any dumbass could read three posts on this blog and see that. Second, does anyone else thing it's pretty darn cool that I got called an "uneducated fucknut," an "ignoramus," and an "easily duped asshat fucknozzle" in the same comment? I mean, seriously...I can generally swear with the best of them, but I've only used fucknut maybe once, and I've never even heard fucknozzle used...ever.

So, Bitter, if you're still reading this, thanks for stopping by and providing me with a bit of humor on a Thursday night; more importantly, thank you for adding to my vocabulary of cussing...I'll be sure to use "fucknozzle" the next time I want to call someone really stupid.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Linux info

If you are at all interested about Linux, head on over to Eric's place and start scrolling. He's compiled a rather impressive list of links and commentary about switching over. It definitely helped me; I'm planning on getting a surplus computer for real cheap from University surplus and converting it into a Linux box to play around with, and then when I get my new laptop (probably sometime this summer) I'll convert it over as well. If you are someone who gets frustrated when Windows does stuff for you, if you are someone who gets upset at a dumbed down interface, or someone who just really really enjoys the command line, Linux is worth looking at.

Sports Car Quiz

I'm a Chevrolet Corvette!

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

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

Nothing like a real American classic. H/T to Perry and Glenn.

Monday, January 23, 2006

An open letter to all legislators on the subject of "the children."

As someone who is still nominally considered a "child," I'd just like to respectfully ask all legislators out there to stop doing things for me. Really, I appreciate the gestures, but I can take care of myself, thanks. I can handle violent video games, I can handle cartoon tobacco ads, I can handle hanging out in a smoky restaurant, I can handle the possibility of coming into contact with a naughty website on the internet, I can handle eating fast food, I can handle raunchy song lyrics (and don't try and tell me that Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds is in fact about a chick named Lucy who is in the sky wearing diamonds...I'm onto you, you child of the '60s), and yes, I can even handle the possibility of drinking a beer or three at a party. I know its hard for you to grasp, considering its been 30+ years since you were this age, but us youngsters are smarter than you give us credit for. Most of us, in fact, do not go out and shoot up schools because the video games showed us how, or choose to smoke because they have a cool mascot, or drink completely out of control because, *GASP*, someone was allowed to buy a keg and take it to a...PARTY!!! We all know what goes on at those parties...nothing but drugs, sex, and alcohol. Can't have our little ones exposed to that.

Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say, is that you need to quit using me in your grab for control and power over the populace. It's getting old, and more and more people are catching on. In fact, among those of us who still care about individual liberty, its become a joke. Using "the children" as the basis for a law has been relegated to the "scary quote" category.

So, in conclusion, if you are going to make power grabs to get people to do things your way, leave me and my ilk out of it. In short, leave us the hell ALONE!

P.S.- If you are really concerned about drinking, you should really police your own house first. Not to name any names, but there's this one Senator who has really gone downhill in recent years...oh, who am I kidding, he hasn't been fully conscious since about 1969; he drove a car off a bridge, the rest is history. Anyway, his name rhymes with Ked Tennedy. He's somewhat famous, kind of a big deal...I hear he owns many leather-bound books.

(For background info on what inspired this rant, go here and here.)

Sunday, January 08, 2006

School Districts and Liberty

I'm not quite certain how things are done in other parts of the country, but I am pretty sure that school districts are generally considered a big deal. After all, all politics is local, and all that. However, here in Nebraska, and especially in and around Omaha, they are a HUGE deal. I'm not quite sure what it is about Omaha, maybe it's the vast assortment of school districts comprised in a small area, or the peculiar nature of Nebraska politics, but several things have combined to make Omaha have an extremely Byzantine atmosphere when it comes to school districts. And as usual, it always comes back to liberty and individual choice.

First off, here's some background on the situation: Omaha Public Schools (OPS) has invoked a law passed in 1891 that states "the Omaha School District will have sole authority for schools within the city limits of Omaha." The way OPS has interpreted this law is their principle of "one city, one district," which is to say that any school within the Omaha city limits should belong to OPS. This might sound self explanatory, but you have to understand Omaha area school districts. Omaha's expanion has been anything but planned, which means that smaller outlying communities are generally annexed haphazardly after they have had a chance to grow into a separate community, rather than before. Some of these communities are Elkhorn (pending a lawsuit), Millard, and Ralston. Each of these communities has developed separate school districts, and in the case of Millard, has lived in coexistence with OPS for over 30 years after the town of Millard was annexed by Omaha. In addition to this, there is a separate school district, Westside School District, that is surrounded by OPS but is protected from annexation by a 1947 law.

Head spinning yet? Anyway, the bottom line is that several previously independent smaller school districts are now being threatened with annexation by a larger district. Since this decision has been rather controversial, one must ask the question why. The primary answer is money, while a secondary one is social control. The school districts that are being annexed are all located in "West Omaha," which is the newer, more upscale, "new money" part of town. As to be expected with such an area, it is predominantly white. Obviously, OPS is composed of a variety of racial and economic groups, but it contains the majority of minorities in the Omaha metro, and the majority of poverty, as shown by this document containing a series of graphs from OPS.

So, the reason for the annexation is first and foremost, a money grab. As shown by the previously cited document, wealth is concentrated outside of OPS, and OPS has the lowest property value per child of any school district in the metro area, so they have decided that in order to increase their funds, they are going to force prosperous citizens in western Omaha to subsidize the education of children from less prosperous areas. The administrators of OPS may couch their decision in language of "making a quality education for ALL Omaha children a reality," but the bottom line is that richer people from a small area who previously were paying tax money to go towards educating THEIR children, and their children alone, are now going to be forced to pay money to go towards educating children from a wider area, including many poorer areas. Income redistribution, pure and simple.

In addition, there is another, even more sinister motive at work in the annexation proposal. Several people in support of the annexation have mentioned that separate school districts have in effect caused racial segregation in the schools. Never mind that we tried this social manipulation crap with our schools in the '70s with busing, and never mind that it failed miserably. Several bigwigs in the education establishment are upset that the legislature has given people choice in their education by passing a law that allows people to choose which school their children go to, irrespective of school district. God forbid that we actually allow people to choose where their children go to school. Anyway, as shown in this article, the OPS Superintendent is rather upset about the whole racial situation, going so far as to say that the option legislation has caused "white flight."

So, we have income redistribution and racial meddling. The final issue in this whole saga is that OPS went about the whole annexation process acting like a gangster with the biggest gun. Rather than asking the other school districts to open a dialogue about the possibility of implementing the 1891 law, OPS simply declared that it was going to take over the other school districts, and that they hoped to "continue to remain available to meet with the other superintendents, to get their valuable input in transitioning to one city, one school district." No talk about the possibility of compromise or

Bottom line? We have a large school district acting like a bully in order to implement several annexations that will cause severe income redistribution and restart the social experimentation that we finally dumped in 1999 with the replacement of busing by the option program.

Explain to me how that is right?

In any case, this issue will probably be resolved, or at least furthered along in the 2006 session of the Nebraska Unicameral, which was called into session a few days ago. I'll keep you posted.

In other (but related) news, in a slightly ironic move, the Bellevue School District has used the same 1891 law and the same OPS interpretation in order to argue that one OPS high school and one OPS middle school located inside the Bellevue city limits should become part of the BPS system. Hey, if you aren't going to play by your own rules, even if you make them up as you go along like OPS does, you really shouldn't be making up the rules in the first place.

(A slight clarification (this would be "below the fold" if I had that capability on my blog): I slightly oversimplified things in order to make the post flow; OPS is only allowed to annex parts of the other school districts that are within the Omaha city limits. As a result of a gentleman's agreement between the cities of Ralston and Omaha, Ralston has avoided annexation by Omaha. Therefore, there are only a few Ralston elementary schools that would be annexed in the grab, and the Ralston School District would remain wholly intact, minus some elementary schools. The same cannot be said of the Millard School District, however. Because the area of Millard has been annexed by Omaha, the "one city, one district" plan would result in OPS controlling most of Millard's schools, effectively destroying the district. As for Elkhorn, I alluded to their situation in the post. The city of Elkhorn has been annexed by Omaha, but is fighting the annexation in court. Until that annexation goes through, OPS can only annex a few elementary schools. However, when the annexation goes through (and it is likely that it will) Elkhorn residents will lose their last vestiges of local control if the OPS plan is allowed to go through, as the Elkhorn School District would cease to exist.)

Okay, so it was more than a slight clarification, but I just wanted to get the absolute facts out there so I didn't have to fact correct later. As I said, I didn't include it in the body of the post because I thought too much info would interfere with the flow. Ed.

Hey, I have an editor! I only need three more and I'll have the MSM's vaunted "four layers of protection."