Leave Us Alone!

Thursday, June 30, 2005

You! Put out that cigarette, for the good of the nation!

I was having a rather pleasant evening until I read this Associated Press story:
Early deaths caused by smoking cost the nation about $92 billion a year in lost productivity between 1997 and 2001, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.

Smoking reduces life expectancy an average of about 14 years by way of lung cancer, heart disease other illnesses, according to the CDC.

In the study, "lost productivity" meant lost wages.

(entire article here)

This is ridiculous. The people at the Centers for Disease Control seem to think that human life and productivity are some kind of collective resource. My life and my productivity do not belong to "the nation;" they belong to me.

The article goes on to quote CDC Director Julie Gerberding:
We've made good progress in reducing the number of people who smoke, but we have much more work to do.
In other words, Dr. Gerberding doesn't give credit to former smokers for quitting smoking; she attributes it to herself and her fellow bureaucrats. According to Dr. Gerberding, smoking is not a matter of individual choice, it is something that the government needs to reduce.

Are Americans free citizens of a liberal republic, with the right to make our own decisions, and mistakes, so long as we do not infringe on the rights of others? Or are we inmates of an asylum, who need to be forcibly protected from ourselves? Fortunately, we still resemble the former more than the latter. However, our government seems more and more to view us as the latter.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Audient Files

Audient, an old friend from my days at Bowling Green, was kind enough to mention my blog on his blog, so I'll return the favor. For a lot of interesting takes on Northeast Ohio, and the world, check out The Audient Files.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Randy "Duke" Cunningham: Piece of Crap, Part II

In today's Boston Globe, Cathy Young condemns Representative Cunningham's vile statement in support of the flag burning amendment, and the amendment in general:

Support for the amendment has always been a cheap ticket to political grandstanding. This time, though, it has been made worse by shameless exploitation of the memory of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. ''Ask the men and women who stood on top of the Trade Center," Republican Representative Randy Cunningham of California declared during the House debate. ''Ask them and they will tell you: Pass this amendment."

''Obscene" is not too strong a word for this. If the men and women who died in the World Trade Center could talk to us, I suspect they might be a little more concerned about whether their fellow citizens are any better protected from terrorism today than four years ago.

Entire column here.

Rep. Cunningham's remarks are much more offensive than anything that Senator Dick Durbin ever said, so why isn't he being hounded into making a half-assed apology on the floor of the House?

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Parking Scofflaws for Bush

This car was parked on Lakeside Avenue in the Warehouse District for the better part of last week. (license plate obscured to protect the guilty)

Wow! Look at all of those tickets!

What Karl Rove Said

Speaking to the New York Conservative Party Wednesday night, presidential adviser Karl Rove said that "liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers,” while conservatives “...saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war.”

I guess that means that Mr. Rove thinks that US Rep. Barbara Lee (D-California) is the only liberal in Congress.

Stop the Ohio "Patriot" Act

Senate Bill 9, the so-called Ohio "Patriot" Act, could go to a vote of the Ohio House of Representatives as early as this week. The bill would attempt to suppress the growing movement opposing the USA "PATRIOT" Act, expand the powers of an unnecessary and dangerous bureaucracy, and mandate self-incrimination, in violation of the 5th Amendment. This link from the ACLU of Ohio tells you how to take action to stop this legislation. Please take a few minutes to contact your state representative ant tell him or her to oppose Senate Bill 9. I just got finished sending a copy of the ACLU's sample letter via e-mail to State Representative Dale Miller (D-West Park). It took less than five minutes.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Randy "Duke" Cunningham: Piece of Crap

The House of Representatives voted to amend the U.S. Constitution to allow Congress to outlaw flag desecration. Here's what The Honorable(?) Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-California) had to say in support of the amendment:

"Ask the men and women who stood on top of the Trade Center. Ask them and they will tell you: pass this amendment."

(Link via Hit and Run)

Not only is the gentleman(?) from California attempting to desecrate the Constitution by diminishing First Amendment rights, he has desecrated the memory of Sepetember 11 victims in order to do so. How dare he put words into the mouths of people who can no longer speak for themselves?

Who Needs Evidence When You Can Feel?

A North Carolina attorney demonstrates that the state's certified breath alcohol tester can be fooled by alcohol in the mouth (from the Durham Herald-Sun)

Marcus Hill took a small swig of bourbon and swished it in his mouth.

He spit the liquor into a cup, then blew into the Intoxilyzer 5000, a machine police and the Highway Patrol commonly use to help determine whether a driver is drunk.

Despite not swallowing a drop of the bourbon, the Durham lawyer registered 0.25 -- more than three times the legal threshold for intoxication.

However, Ollie Jeffers, president of the local chapter of the Anti-Saloon League Mothers Against Drunk Driving, can't be bothered with evidence of the machine's inaccuracy.

"I'm just appalled," Jeffers said. "I really feel the Intoxilyzer is credible."

That's right, she "feels" that the machine is credible, even though it has been shown to be able to produce false evidence against innocent defendants. Who needs evidence when we can rely on feelings to determine the guilt or innocence of criminal defendants? I think we should bring back trial by ordeal. Who cares that it's long been discredited? I really feel that trial by ordeal is credible.

(link via DUI Blog)

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Does that $30 Hamburger Come with Freedom Fries?

A lawsuit alleges anti-French discrimination at New York's famed 21 Club.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Release the Hounds

At MSN Money, Liz Pulliam Weston has seven ideas for combating identity theft. Most of Ms. Weston's ideas sound pretty sensible, but this argument for one of them caught my eye:

By making it [reporting false information to credit bureaus] a crime, Congress could turn loose any number of hot-shot assistant district attorneys or state attorneys general who wanted to make a name for themselves

She says that as if it's a good thing.

Dick Durbin Under Siege: Day 6

A lot is being made of Senator Richard Durbin's (D-Illinois) comments regarding an FBI agent's report of abuse of detainees. Senator Durbin was right to speak out against the abuse, which was pretty bad:

On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food, or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more. On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold... On another occasion, the [air conditioner] had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor.

However, Senator Durbin went a bit over the top in comparing the acts of abuse to actions by Nazis, Soviets, and the Khmer Rouge. In so doing, the senator allowed conservative apologists for the Bush administration to deflect attention away from the abuse and toward Senator Durbin's not-quite-accurate analogy.

Meanwhile, many conservative commentators seem to have no problem with the abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo. Perversely, they are more outraged by Senator Durbin's remarks.

Tom Bevan of Real Clear Politics dismissively compares the prisoner abuse to fraternity hazing, ignoring the critical distinction that fraternity hazing is consensual, while the abuse of prisoners is anything but consensual. Meanwhile, Mr. Bevan saves his criticism for Senator Durbin.

Earlier this evening on the Hugh Hewitt Show, Professor Hewitt characterized the abuse described by the FBI agent as "allowing [prisoners] to defecate on themselves." That's right, "allowing," as if the prisoners had a choice in the matter. Professor Hewitt called for the Senate to censure Senator Durbin, but made no condemnation of the abuse.

There's something very wrong with the conservative movement when conservatives are more outraged by a few impolitic words than by serious violations of human rights.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


Ask anyone who knows me and they'll probably tell you two things about me: first, that I'm arrogant enough to think that you care about my opinion, and second, that I actually believe that crap about one person being able to make a difference. Given both of those, it's a wonder I didn't start this blog sooner.