Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Audacity Of Hope

No, seriously.

I can't take any more of this "hope" everybody keeps rattling on about.

It is beyond my understanding how anybody could be looking at the 2008 US federal election with hopeful eyes. Please take my following statement for what's it's worth given the characters that US voters have had to choose from in the past: never has there been a less palatable set of alternatives for the American presidency then there is today.

The Rule of Reason did some leg-work to help remind us just who these candidates are.

Barack Obama

Do we vote for Barack Obama, whose anti-American, anti-military, anti-freedom, serve-your-country-until-you’re-flat-broke-and-living-in-penury-for-a-cause-higher-than-yourself solution to all problems, foreign and domestic, might mellow once he is in office and is handed on morning one the intelligence reports from the various security agencies on what our enemies (including Russia and China, not just the Islamists) are up to vis-à-vis tightening the noose around America’s neck? Or would he just grimace and think: We brought it upon ourselves.


Do we vote for Obama, whose election most assuredly would guarantee another attack on this country soon after his inauguration, just to test his professed “love” of America? Or would our enemies be ferally intelligent enough to realize that he would destroy it for them, stay their hand, and settle for ramping up their cultural jihad, knowing that Obama would applaud it in the name of multicultural diversity? It is not for nothing that the Muslim world approves of his candidacy and more or less has remained mum about his alleged apostasy.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of Russia, of course, macho dictator that he is, would have Mr. Change that Matters for lunch, and use Senator Joe Biden as a serviette. Would Obama be a diplomatic match for the heavyweight thug of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, or Snake Eyes Ahmadinejad? It is indicative of the world’s hostility for America that every dictator, sheik and “social democrat” is hoping for an Obama presidency and the chance to stick it to this country even more, knowing that Obama would contritely claim that America deserved it, as a kind of reparations for what the U.S. has done to the world. Like save it twice at great cost in lives and treasure, and after that act as the world’s selfless policeman and “democracy” builder, also at great cost in lives and treasure.

John McCain

Do we vote for John McCain, who may or may not be better than George W. Bush in foreign policy and in adopting a semi-rational attitude toward America’s dedicated enemies, but who is “pro-American” in the same sense that Mussolini was “pro-Italian” and Hitler was “pro-German,” that is, in an un-American, nationalistic, service-to-your-country-in-a-higher-cause-than-yourself way, which implies the partial or wholesale regimentation of the American population to combat the bogeyman of the moment?


Do we vote for McCain, whose “patriotism” would compel Americans to “give back” what they were never given, and who may or may not give the rational among us half a fighting chance to spread the word of reason? Would the Ayn Rand Institute and other pro-freedom organizations be safely sidelined by his domestic policies? Would conservative talk-show hosts be any more secure against censorship or persecution than under an Obama administration? Both candidates are preeminently anti-conceptual mentalities, but this does not mean they would not be aware of the peril of freely expressed ideas or organized opposition, and search for some means to squelch, silence, punish or harass the recalcitrant.

Do we vote for McCain, whose election might stave off another attack on America, because our Islamic enemies (Ahmadinejad of Iran, the Saudis, et al.) just might possibly believe that he would bomb Iran’s nuclear power facilities, or give the Israelis the go-ahead to do it themselves (Israeli intelligence on Mideast matters being vastly more informed than the CIA’s or the NSA’s)? Would McCain’s election give the Islamists pause? Or would they strike before Cindy McCain had time to redecorate the Oval Office?

And, like with all things, The Simpsons did it first:

Please ignore the stupid commentary. Unless you're a big fan of Steve Adams. Exactly, so just ignore the commentary, mmmkay?

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Don't Tell The Terrorists But ...

... There's a huge flaw in that TSA no-fly list thing.


The U.S. Department of Homeland Security wrote a letter to Labbé in 2004, saying he had been placed on their watch list after falling victim to identity theft. At the time, the department said there was no way for his name to be removed.

Although Labbé wrote letters to the U.S. department, his efforts were in vain, prompting him to legally change his name.

"So now, my official name is François Mario Labbé," he said.

"Then you have to change everything: driver's license, social insurance, medicare, credit card — everything."

Although it's not a big change from Mario Labbé, he said it's been enough to foil the U.S. customs computers.

Touché, Mr. Labbé. Touché.

H/t BoingBoing

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Texas Judge: No More Babies For You, Okay?


A judge in Travis County has ordered a woman to stop having children as a condition of her probation in her case of injury to a child by omission, an extraordinary measure that legal experts say could be unconstitutional.

The order was for Felicia Salazar, 20, who admitted to failing to provide protection and medical care to her then-19-month-old daughter last year. The girl suffered broken bones and other injuries when she was beaten by her father, Roberto Alvarado, 25, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Alvarado and Salazar relinquished their parental rights, and the child, who has recovered, was placed in foster care.

On Sept. 5, state District Judge Charlie Baird sentenced Salazar, who had no criminal history, to 10 years of probation after she reached a plea bargain with prosecutors. In Texas, judges set conditions of probation. In addition to requiring Salazar to perform 100 hours of community service and to undergo a mental health assessment and setting other typical conditions, Baird told Salazar not to have any more children.

Should this woman be having more children? Probably not. Is it morally - or even legally - acceptable for a state representative to forbid her to conceive and bear children? It's an interesting question.

There is precedent, after all:

[I]n a past Wisconsin case, a father of nine who was convicted of intentionally failing to pay child support was ordered to have no more children as a condition of probation. The Supreme Court of Wisconsin upheld that condition.

I enjoyed the Judge's reasoning that, if he had sent her to jail instead of issuing this condition, she wouldn't have been able to conceive or bear children anyway since she would have been incarcerated. Consequently, he claimed that the condition was quite reasonable.

Colour me skeptical. To begin with, this seems like a pretty unenforceable condition. Secondly, how much power should a judge have to decide how a person leads their life? If a judge decides that somebody represents an imminent danger to the public then he or she has the power to put the person in question in jail. Should a judge be able to restrict what a criminal does with his or her own body when there is no strong reason to suspect it would involve a crime?

Although it seems likely that this woman would not be a stellar parent to any child she may have in the future, my instinct is that she should not be forbidden from conceiving and bearing children simply because she may be a bad parent again. Given her history, I think it would be better to keep a close eye on her if she chooses parenthood again. Chances are, after this experience, she'll never have children again anyway.

H/t Hit & Run

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Friday, September 12, 2008

New Poll Suggests The Canadian Republic Is Prescient

Do these results look familiar to you?

The Canadian Press:

Stephen Harper may be closing in on his coveted majority despite being plagued by a series of miscues and bad news during the first week of the federal election campaign.

A new poll suggests the Conservatives have opened up a commanding 15-point lead over the Liberals, with 41 per cent of respondents supporting the governing party.

Typically, 40 per cent is sufficient to win a majority of seats in the House of Commons.

According to The Canadian Press-Harris Decima survey, the Liberals stood at 26 per cent, the NDP at 14 per cent, the Greens at nine and the Bloc Quebecois at eight.

Compare that with my predictions.

These numbers should settle down a little after the campaign gets ramped up and a few more Liberal voters defect to Jack Layton.

So far, so good.

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Dion: "Humanity" To Blame For Soaring Gas Prices


Gas prices at the pumps increased dramatically today, rising between 12 and 13 cents per litre in some parts of the country.

Mr. Dion said, however, that the pricing issue at the pumps wasn't the only reason for soaring gas prices, blaming “humanity” for asking for more and more oil.

He said his carbon tax scheme that would raise the price of carbon fuel and use that to give tax breaks to Canadian families would help to remedy part of the problem; his scheme would not raise prices at the pumps.

Surprise! These absurdly high gas prices are our own fault for daring to leave the Dark Ages. I guess it serves us right, then.

On the other hand, I'm slightly less willing to simply blame this one on "humanity." I'd say gas prices are so wildly out of whack with the law of supply and demand because North American legislatures have imposed impossibly restrictive drilling regulations on domestic oil companies, effectively leaving us at the mercy of foreign oil exporters. These are the same foreign oil companies, by the way, that were developed by Americans using American technology and were then promptly nationalized, with no repercussions for the looters whatsoever.

So, in that sense, I suppose "humanity" does shoulder some of the blame. Or, rather, certain members of humanity are guiltier than others regarding the price of gas in Canada today.

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P. Diddy Hitz You Wit Da Truth About Sarah Palin

Probably not safe for work.

But, if you get a moment, please do yourself a favour and watch this clip. It's the definition of time well wasted.

UPDATE: It gets even better.

"You have shut me the f*** up, Sarah Palin."

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Election Predictions

Sorry it's been so quiet 'round these parts lately. To get us back in the swing of things I thought I'd offer some official Canadian Republic election predictions.

What's on the line? Well, that would be the very most precious commodity of all: pride.

Popular Vote

2006 Results

Tories: 36.3%

Grits: 30.2%

NDP: 17.5%

Bloc: 10.5%

Green: 4.5%

2008 Predictions

Tories: 39%

Grits: 25%

NDP: 19%

Bloc: 9%

Green: 7%

Seats In Parliament

2006 Results

Tories: 124

Grits: 103

NDP: 29

Bloc: 51

Green: 0

2008 Predictions

Tories: 135-140

Grits: 78-85

NDP: 32-35

Bloc: 45-50

Green: 2-4

Major Changes

Although it probably won't be hugely reflected in the popular vote, the NDP should see some major gains when the dust settles. Given the number of ridings in the last federal election which saw narrow Liberal victories (e.g. Toronto, Vancouver, etc), the NDP should have very little trouble picking up a handful of new seats.

Quebec - ever the battleground province - should finally allow Harper some gains as Grit and Bloc influence wavers in key ridings. A Mulroney-esque breakthrough is highly unlikely, but the Conservatives should still forge crucial inroads beyond Quebec City which could very definitely place them in striking distance of a majority for the next election.

I know my Tory predictions are a little conservative (pardon the awful joke). I've been talking to a lot of hopefuls who are predicting a majority this election. I'm very wary, however, of underestimating the power of strategic voting on the left. Only time is going to tell just how important a factor it turns out to be.

If you folks have any special insights I overlooked or want to share some guesses of your own, post 'em in the comments.

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Elizabeth May: "Canadians Are Stupid"

Maybe. But we'll never be this stupid.

The sound byte in question is right at the end of the clip.

This slip of the tongue - and lest we forget this charming little comment from awhile back - definitely ought to help the Greens finally break into the Canadian mainstream.

Good luck, Lizzie. You're doing really great so far!

My only qualm in linking this is that I'm not sure why it cuts out right after she "agrees with that assessment" since it seems likely that she didn't just leave it at that. Can anybody get their hands on the full audio clip?

H/t to Lore Weaver for finding and hosting the clip.

UPDATE: Stephen Taylor fills in the blanks for us. My hero.

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