RIS – Rest in Shame

As if there remained any reason whatsoever to support or be active in the Libertarian Party, this should should remove all doubt.

reason: In 2002, the Libertarian Party called you the worst drug warrior in Congress. No hard feelings?

Barr:
To be honest with you that’s never come up in our discussions. I’m not going to let minor disagreements come between us.

It has never come up? Minor disagreement? Honestly, I did not even read the rest of the interview beyond that point. Utterly reprehensible. I haven't been a member of the LP for about 5 years, and haven't given them any money either. I used to give them upwards of maybe $500 per year from the mid-90s through about 2001. Whereas I never really begrudged doing that, I'm now ashamed to admit it.

Gifts for Geeks

A reader and fellow blogger alerts me to a gift guide for geeks that he's taken the time to put together.

Go ahead and see if there's anything you can get for a geek, or for yourself if you are one.

By the way…

The new banner for the new design is from this photo (click to enlarge)...

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I'm standing just in front of our cabin in the woods. That's one reason why this new design takes on added significance for me. This place is quickly becoming my favorite in the world, and if you're a regular reader, you know how much I've been around and lived around the world.

In hopes you can share in my delight, here's a few more photos I shot as raw footage for this project (click on the images for larger versions).

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Here's the oldest tree on the property, a cedar, and guys around who seem to know what they're talking about tell me it's probably 150-200 years old.

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And here's one with the cabin in view.

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And finally, here was my first cut on the project, which was to take the old cedar, crop it, and stand it on its side.

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Oh, and I'd also like to thank Neal Owings of Autodogmatic who emailed me last week and both mercifully and graciously offered his help (you can see from his blog that he knows what he's doing). I jumped at the offer, of course, but in the course of gathering what he would need, I discovered that a show-stopping limitation with TypePad that I thought existed, didn't exist at all, which opened up a whole new world. So I put Neal on hold. Then, this morning, he gave me some really valuable insights for settling on the design version you see up at the top. Thanks Neal.

Behold the Power

Juvenile Impudence

I've had something on my mind for a few days since catching an entry from Billy before heading off for the weekend. He refers to an Andrew Sullivan entry displaying this YouTube video of an 8-yr-old girl with, shall we say, "certain views" about religion and a few other things. It's also partly an attack on Bill O'Reilly, whose response I will get to in a bit.

I suppose the common reaction to such a thing is that it's a bit of an assault on the senses and sensibilities -- impudent, perhaps. Sullivan thinks it's the equivalent of the very devoutly religious using their kids to proselytize -- in which he is correct, as I've witnessed it first hand. Beck's is a wider integration. It's not his view of how 8-yr-old girls or their parents conduct themselves in a rational, enlightened society. And he's probably right. Kyle thinks it's essentially in-your-face leftism, and he's probably right too.

So why is it bugging me?

I suppose part of it is that a lot of what the girl says is simply true; but then again, all truths don't have to be uttered all the time, they don't have to always be in-your-face, and little girls don't have to be the messengers. I think another part of it is that kids, in a huge variety of ways, just try to please and to be like their parents, which is probably why kids typically end up with the religious beliefs of their parents. That's happened billions of times over thousands of years, yet one little atheist does it and the world's going to hell in a hand basket?

So, if I am to understand this completely: billions of parents over thousands of years indoctrinate their kids with false delusions and that's neither really problematic, nor newsworthy. But some parent indoctrinates their kid with the belief that false delusions are false, and it's problematic because the message gets delivered via juvenile impudence?

Another part that bugs me is that the kid is talented. Forget the message; the delivery is superb, I think. I just wonder, now that it's been on O'Reilly, if something could come of it. Does anyone seriously think that this is damaging to this little girl; and if so, more damaging than the indoctrination kids have been surviving for millennia?

And speaking of O'Reilly, here's his nationally broadcast response to the whole thing, featuring "child advocate and attorney from Boston Wendy Murphy." Now this is where it gets interesting, and O'Reilly's skill as a propagandist blow-hard really comes through. Watch it carefully. First, of course, is the pretense of a "debate" or "discussion." Then, Bill is going to "walk through it." The hardly-surprising conclusion? It's emotional abuse, social services should get involved ("maybe they can make a case"), the girl should be taken from her parents, the parents prosecuted.

Hmm.... Maybe the kid's video's not so bad, after all.

Now I’m Satisfied

At least until such point that I'm not, anymore. But I think that'll do it. I promise to stop torturing my kind readers with endless design changes.

Perhaps you'll agree, though. If you begin with where I started, and then look at the various changes, and what I've finally and delightedly settled on, you can perhaps understand why I just kept at it.

Delighted, I am. And I even hope it's pleasing to your eye as well.

Richard Paey

Back in April, 2004, over 2 1/2 years ago, I posted that you could Rest Easier.

You can rest easy now. Richard Paey, 45-year-old father of three, wheelchair bound and disabled from a car accident in 1985, suffering also from multiple sclerosis, is safely locked away for the next 25 years because he purchased pharmaceutical-grade medication to ease his suffering.

This is the original Hit & Run article from Jacob Sullum I linked to. It's taken this much time for his appeal to reach the appropriate District Court.

Denied.

There's a lot of information out there, so I really don't need to rehash it.

Well... I don't know what else I can say. Depressing? Disgusting? Embarrassing? Yes, especially embarrassing. To think that I could identify myself with a perceptual tag -- American -- in a place where others who identify themselves identically, not only actively support such a thing, but perform and carry it out, institutionally, as a matter of "justice." My conscience reels in the shame, even though I'm quite clear that I have nothing to do with this, am not responsible for the actions of others, and am speaking out as a matter of moral principle.

This is a moral issue, and what has happened to Richard Paey and his family is profoundly immoral. The word "evil" gets tossed around a lot these days -- including by me -- and whenever that happens there's always danger of the loss of impact. So be it; things are what they are: this is evil. The dissenting appellate judge called it "cruel" and "unusual." Of course, that's for the purpose of making a legal identification, as the constitution "guarantees" your freedom from such punishment. But note: the guarantee is not as against cruel or unusual, but cruel and unusual, which -- and I'm not kidding, because I deal with this legal principle all the time in my business -- means that cruel punishments are entirely constitutional so long as they are usual ones. So, simply, all that is necessary to show that Paey's punishment is constitutional, is to simply show that more than a single court system applies the same punishment -- even if the courts were to acknowledge its cruelty. Accordingly, the dissenting judge is legally incorrect. Paey's 25-year sentence for acquiring and taking pain medication is cruel, not unusual, and so perfectly constitutional. Just in time for that 215th birthday, eh?

I drafted and sent a concise email to Florida Governor, Jeb Bush [email protected]:

Subj: Pardon Richard Paey

Mr. Bush:

Have the decency. Just do it.

In my original entry, I hoped that the pharmacists who alerted the Pasco County Sheriff's Office to Paey's pain-med use rot in hell. Well, let me add a few to that list:

  • Those of the Pasco County Sheriff's Office with any hand in this.
  • The Pasco County prosecutors who had a hand in this.
  • Those of the Pasco County District Attorney's Office with any hand in this.
  • Those of the Florida Legislature instrumental in getting the law passed, to which everyone subordinate gets to excuse their own conscience 'cause  "they were just doing their job."
  • Jeb Bush, for not already pardoning Richard Paey, and for continuing to not pardon Richard Paey.
  • All the judges in all the courts who have "done their job" in correctly interpreting the law and imposing sentence, even in admitted contradiction to their own principles of conscience.
  • Any of you, should you in any way give sanction to this evil.

May you all rot in hell.

Or, Just Weep

Balko points out that it's the 215th birthday of the Bill of Rights, a set of ten original amendments to the original U.S. Constitution. "Celebrate its birth, or weep for its death."

How about neither? How on Earth could I, and why would anyone celebrate an act of such presumption as to wrest authority in an area where no human being or institution comprised of them can morally have any such authority? It's a very simple principle, folks: to grant implies ownership or authority, which necessarily comes with the authority to take away or withhold. Assuming the authority to create a Constitution and grant certain "enumerated rights" means they can be taken away, so no one really has any cause to complain, on that score alone. It's the wrong argument. It's all baked in the cake.

No one is alive today to accept responsibility for such a travesty, but the least one can do is to recognize that the new government of America had no more authority to establish a constitution and set of rights than it had, concurrently, to enslave Africans as a matter of law and later set them free as a matter of law. It is principally and precisely the very same thing.

Do you get it? "Freeing the slaves" means: the authority to enslave them was presumed to exist as a prerequisite. What you can properly weep for, slaves, is that the wondrous American experiment started downhill the moment that constitution was ratified.

Almost Christmas; Almost White

Up at the cabin with my side of the family: parents, and the families of two of my three brothers. Dad & mom are headed down to Houston later this week to spend real Christmas with my other brother and his two sons, so we all decided to do an Almost Christmas a week early.

It's almost white, too. Temp dropped yesterday into the 20s and we got some light presip, so the ground is faintly dusted with a white substance at the moment. That's good, because the last two years we've had rain from warm storms coming through.

One of the gifts I got was the DVD of V for Vendetta. I blogged of it, here, and of which, the comments are the meat of that entry. We watched it yesterday afternoon in the new "media room" addition, cranked the volume way up, and disturbed no one else in the house. I really liked that film, again. It's so packed with Uncommon dialog that you can probably watch it several times. It's very interesting how various aspects of justice, fear, symbolism, civil disobedience, destruction, revolution and art are all woven together.

Then came dinner, which was quite different. My brother had gone hunting a few weeks back and bagged six pheasant, dressed and froze 'em, and my mom did them up in a wonderful Basque recipe that's been in the family for a while. I hadn't had pheasant since I was a kid, courtesy of my grandfather's shotgun. I recall a real delicate and tasty dark meat, as are virtually all game birds (white meat is the consequence of a few thousand years of the genetic engineering of chicken and turkey, courtesy of farmers). But it's also interesting how times have changed. When I was a kid, there was no question -- and certainly no attempt to evade the reality of -- how some food came to be at our table: whether venison, elk, duck, sage hen, chukar, quail, dove, or any of the other food family members killed with a gun, dressed, bagged, and prepared for the tables.

Last night, there was clear discomfort on the part of a few to discuss the actual mechanics of it. Sure, I suppose it's not necessarily polite dinner-table conversation, and I certainly understand division of labor, such that nobody really has to concern themselves with how animal flesh gets to the supermarket where it can then be purchased in nice, clean, visually appealing packages. Hooray for that, really. It's a far cry from having to do it yourself. Just let's not shy away from the facts of the matter, please. That's never a good thing and just makes it easier to disregard them, when, for instance, it's easily forgotten that some people hunt because they love to hunt, and uptight folks in New York, San Francisco, and Chicago are merrily making it more difficult or impossible for them.

Of course, it was particularly difficult to avoid the facts of the matter when I pointed out that everyone needs to bite down carefully, in case a buckshot or two got missed in the cleanup operation. My other brother and my dad were lucky enough to score a single pellet each. Man, did that bring back some memories.

John Sabotta Was Right

As much as I hate to admit it, he was right. I didn't like it much once it was up, and I grew increasingly ill-content with the whole thing.

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Just awful. I may not be finished with the new one and may try to play with the wording a bit, but I think I'm headed in a better direction. Of course, another alternative is to go with just the title, and put that tag line stuff over at the top of the left or right column, maybe even in conjunction with that "Philosophy of Freedom" presentation. Now there's an idea.

Well, John, what do you think now?

Update: Well, that...er, this, rather...

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...didn't last long. Once I got to thinking about that tagline stuff going in the sidebar and a few other design changes, I got to work. Not done yet, but on the way.

Update II:

And now this is gone too, replaced with what you see at top (as of mid-Dec 2006) with some other font/color changes as well:

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And now I'm satisfied.