Tuesday, November 30, 2004

The people win a small one

West Virginia has been a one-party state for as long as I can remember. Yes, the state frequently elects a Republican Governor, but Democrats dominate the legislature, the Supreme Court of Appeals and most county governments.

Now there’s nothing wrong with Democrats. Some really good people are Democrats. But when one party dominates for so long, it just isn’t healthy. So things start happening, and when someone ought to be called on the carpet for misbehaving, if they are part of the machine, the leaders either do not believe that there’s been mischief, or they just look the other way.

One-party politics inevitably eventually evolves into audaciousness, arrogance and overconfidence. So it was in West Virginia this year, as it has been for so long.

Jerry Mezzatesta (D-Hampshire) had been in the House of Delegates for 18 years, and had been Chairman of the Education Committee. He also worked for the Hampshire County Board of Education, a clear conflict of interest, given the Committee’s power to fund school systems. Del. Mezzatesta had signed a formal agreement to not help his employer get state funding.

But he indulged, allegedly, in a variety of improprieties, including securing funding for his employer, contrary to the agreement, and also redistributing state funds to counties contrary to the intent of the Education Committee. The result was that some counties got more than they were due, some counties got less, and some counties got nothing.

During the investigation that eventually was begun, a letter turned up that proved to have been faked and backdated to mislead the Ethics Commission. Four persons were involved in the incident, Mezzatesta and three Committee staffers, including his wife. Mezzatesta and his wife each plead no contest to altering and destroying legislative computer records. The misdemeanor charge carried a maximum penalty of up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

This case had great interest, due to Mezzatesta’s prior history of heavy-handedness, and partiality to certain parties at the expense of others. Prior to the sentencing, Candy Canan, a librarian from Hampshire County, asked Magistrate Carol Fouty to give Del. Mezzatesta the maximum sentence. "I find the actions of Mr. Mezzatesta to be repulsive and embarrassing to the citizens of the 51st District as well as the citizens of this state," Canan said. "The mere fact that Mr. Mezzatesta refuses to take accountability for his actions speaks volumes about his character. ... Send the message that corruption in our government will not go unpunished."

Fouty countered that Mezzatesta must have done something right during his 18 years in the Legislature or he would not have been re-elected numerous times. The Mezzatestas each received fines of $500, 90 days on probation and court costs of $123.50. He was also defeated for re-election in November.

After sentencing, Fouty shook hands with Mezzatesta and told the delegate, "It's a pleasure to meet you."

So goes politics in West Virginia.

But a victory is a victory, however small. And the people of West Virginia have been relieved of the burden of one corrupt politician. At least until the next election.

Chemical weapons-making materials found in Fallujah

U.S. troops have found materials for making chemical weapons in two houses in Fallujah, The Washington Times reports.

Army Lt. Col. Steven A. Boylan told the Times that there are no signs that the terrorists actually used chemical or biological weapons, "but this definitely shows that they had the intent and willingness to go down that road," he said.

In addition to materials for making chemical blood agents, our troops also found a "cookbook" on how to produce a deadly form of anthrax, the report continues.

Monday, November 29, 2004

2004 awards for over-the-top rhetoric

Columnist John Leo has written a column in which he quotes some of the most absurdly ridiculous comments by well-known Americans, all of whom should know better:

Sen. John Edwards: “I’d say if you live in the United States of America and you vote for George Bush, you’ve lost your mind.”

Alan Keyes, Republican Senate candidate in Illinois, said Catholics who voted for his opponent, Barack Obama, would be committing a mortal sin.

Former CBS anchor Walter Cronkite said he is inclined to think that Rove “probably set up bin Laden” to deliver his latest tape. Maybe he set up Florida’s hurricanes, too.

Natalie Maines, of the Dixie Chicks, said: “I realize that I’m just supposed to sing and look cute so our fans won’t have anything to upset them while they’re cheating on their wives or driving around in their pickup trucks shooting small animals.”

For the complete article, click here.

Hell freezes over

The following is purported to be an actual question given on a University of Washington chemistry mid-term. The professor thought the answer by one student was so profound that it should be shared, or so the story goes.

But it is good enough for me to share with you.

Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?

Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law (gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed) or some variant. One student, however, wrote the following:

First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets toHell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving. As for how many souls are entering Hell, let's look at the different Religions that exist in the world today. Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added.

This gives two possibilities:

1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enterHell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.

2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

So which is it?

If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my Freshman year that, "it will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you," and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number 2 must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over. The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore, extinct ... leaving onlyHeaven thereby proving the existence of a divine being which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting "Oh my God."

Friday, November 26, 2004

The assault on common sense continues

The U.S. Bill of Rights protects Americans from having religion imposed upon them by their government. The separation of church and state is a lively issue these days, and some people, and even some courts, improperly interpret this concept to mean that any reference to God that is in any way – however remotely – connected with anything governmental is unconstitutional and, further, is offensive to everyone who does not believe in God. Christianity is most often the target of these secularist zealots, followed closely by Judaism.

Americans United explains it this way: “Courts, city halls and other units of government should refrain from displaying religious symbols because such actions send the message that the state has a favored religion and that people who do not share that faith are second-class citizens.”

This tortured interpretation leads to hair-splitting that would make any brain surgeon proud, and causes Americans who tend toward common sense to scratch their heads in wonder.

Added to a long list of bizarre public school related decisions regarding everything from singing Christmas songs in Christmas programs to school vouchers comes this story from, where else: California.

Steven Williams, a fifth-grade teacher at Stevens Creek School in the San Francisco Bay area suburb of Cupertino has been barred by his school from giving students documents from American history that refer to God, including – are you ready for this – the Declaration of Independence.

The following paragraphs are excerpted from a Reuters story on this latest hubbub.

"It's a fact of American history that our founders were religious men, and to hide this fact from young fifth-graders in the name of political correctness is outrageous and shameful," said Williams' attorney, Terry Thompson.

"Williams wants to teach his students the true history of our country," he said. "There is nothing in the Establishment Clause (of the U.S. Constitution) that prohibits a teacher from showing students the Declaration of Independence."

Among the materials [the principal] has rejected, according to Williams, are excerpts from the Declaration of Independence, George Washington's journal, John Adams' diary, Samuel Adams' "The Rights of the Colonists" and William Penn's "The Frame of Government of Pennsylvania."

"He hands out a lot of material and perhaps 5 to 10 percent refers to God and Christianity because that's what the founders wrote," said Thompson, a lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund, which advocates for religious freedom.

Political correctness has crossed over the limit of tolerance when it allows a teacher to be prevented from using the Declaration of Independence and other historically relevant documents is his classroom.

Mr. Williams also contends he is being singled out by the principal because he is a Christian. Can there be any doubt that at some point in the future teachers will be required to have no religious beliefs whatsoever?

But as attorney Thompson notes, the Founders were religious people whose founding documents contained abundant references to God and a Supreme Being. It is absurd to claim that acknowledging that they held religious beliefs somehow is tantamount to establishing a national religion.

However, absurdity is the stock in trade of the politically correct.

Support this Marine!

This email was sent to me by a friend, and points us to an online petition supporting this Marine, who's actions have come under inexcusable second-guessing.

It expresses the same opinion as expressed in a previous post of mine from a few days ago.

Go here

Above is a web page that is collecting signatures for a petition that reads as follows (see below). If you agree, please go to it & sign the petition and pass it along to anyone else you may know. Richard Aceves.

To: U.S. Congress

Friday November 12 2004

U.S.Marines were fired upon by snipers and insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenades from a mosque and an adjacent building. The Marines returned fire with tank shells and machine guns.

They eventually stormed the mosque, killing 10 insurgents and wounding five others, and showing a cache of rifles and grenades for journalists.

The Marines told the pool reporter that the wounded insurgents would be left behind for others to pick up and move to the rear for treatment. But Saturday, another squad of Marines found that the mosque had been reoccupied by insurgents and attacked it again.

Four of the insurgents appeared to have been shot again in Saturday's fighting, and one of them appeared to be dead, according to the pool report. In the video, a Marine was seen noticing that one of the insurgents appeared to be breathing.

A Marine approached one of the men in the mosque saying, "He's [expletive] faking he's dead. He's faking he's [expletive] dead."

The Marine raised his rifle and fired into the insurgents head, at which point a companion said, "Well, he's dead now."

The camera then shows two Americans pointing weapons at another Iraqi insurgent lying motionless. But one of the Marines step back as the insurgent stretches out his hand, motioning that he is alive. The other Marine stands his ground, but neither of them fires.

When told by the pool reporter that the men were among those wounded in Friday's firefight, the Marine who fired the shot said, "I didn't know, sir. I didn't know."

"You can hear the tension in those Marines' voices. One is saying, 'He's faking it. He's faking it,'" Heyman said. "In a combat infantry soldier's training, he is always taught that his enemy is at his most dangerous when he is severely wounded."

A Marine in the same unit had been killed just a day earlier when he tended to the booby-trapped dead body of an insurgent.

NBC reported that the Marine seen shooting the Iraqi insurgent had himself been shot in the face the day before, but quickly returned to duty.

About a block away, a Marine was killed and five others wounded by a booby-trapped body they found in a house after a shootout with insurgents.

Amnesty International has noted reports that insurgents have used mosques as fighting positions, and have used white flags to lure Marines into ambushes.

The Marine who shot the insurgent has been withdrawn from the battlefield pending the results of an investigation, the U.S. military said.

These terrorists do not follow the rules of war. These terrorists kill innocent women by disemboweling them, cut of the heads of innocent truck drivers, detonate car bombs in crowds full of innocent people, and fly planes into buildings filled with innocent Americans.

It is my opinion that NOTHING should happen to this American Marine. He should be returned to his unit or be given an honorable discharge. We don't need our young men and women taking an extra second to decide if its right to shoot an enemy terrorist when that could mean that one of our soldiers could lose their life. The lives of our soldiers should be the single most important factor in this war against terrorism. The rights of terrorists can come second.


The Undersigned

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Thanksgiving Proclamation 2004

Here is a link to President Bush's Thanksgiving Proclamation.

Happy Thanksgiving

I don't know why I hadn't thought to post this without help, but I hadn't. Maybe too much time preparing for the Big Dinner.

Thanks to my friend Huston at A Time For Choosing for getting my brain started.

General Thanksgiving

By the PRESIDENT of the United States Of America


WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;-- for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;-- to enable us all, whether in publick or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.

(signed) G. Washington

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Anchors Away: The big networks losing big names and big influence

Dan Rather announces just before Thanksgiving that he will relinquish the CBS anchor chair in March, on the anniversary of the day he assumed that position from Walter Cronkite 24 years ago. Over at NBC, Tom Brokaw will step aside in a couple of weeks, although his retirement date was decided a while back.

There is an earthquake rumbling through broadcast network news, with only Peter Jennings at ABC remaining in a Big Three anchor chair. It has been more than 20 years since even one of these positions has been open, and now in a space of only a few months we are about to see changes in two of them. In the world of broadcast TV news, it just doesn’t get much bigger than this.

Network anchor jobs are a rare thing on the Help Wanted page. Dan Rather took over at CBS in 1981, and Brokaw and Jennings assumed their positions in 1983.

Who is going to take Rather’s place? No one knows for sure, although a couple of not-so-well-known reporters’ names are floating around. Brokaw’s replacement has been known, it seems, for years, with Brian Williams expected and expecting to assume the anchor position.

But how big is this, really?

The truth is that it just doesn’t matter who gets these jobs.

In fact, I suggest that the two worst places to send your resume are for the NBC and CBS anchor positions. Think about it: How would you like to be the guy people remember when the Big Networks lose the rest of their shimmer and shine?

As the Big Three become less important, less influential, less relevant, it matters less and less who sits in the anchor chair. And in fact if you happen to be those poor slobs when the drain opens and the ratings go completely down, your career is over.

Rude fans and thuggish players

The big hullabaloo in the NBA over the weekend has everybody up in arms. This particular incident certainly was noteworthy due to its spectacular nature, which we have seen on TV ad nauseam.

There are two groups in this mix, players and fans, and both of them have clearly defined roles. This is really not that complicated. The players are there to play a game, and the fans are there to watch them.

When either the fans or the players stray beyond those boundaries into what we saw last weekend, then we have a problem.

Part of the problem is that our society has lost its manners, its ability to treat each other in a civilized fashion. Americans have turned into a crude lot, with little patience and not much self-discipline.

We have forgotten, or thrown away, the maxim that just because we have the RIGHT to do or say something doesn’t mean we OUGHT to do or say it. Discretion is the better part of valor, the old saying goes, and it is still as true today as when it was coined. It is to our collective discredit that we so often fail to heed this bit of wisdom.

So we have rude fans that taunt the players, and occasionally throw things at them, and we have some players in professional sports that are little more than street thugs who have great athletic ability and not much of an understanding of civilized behavior. And both fans and players have been allowed to cross the line of acceptable behavior without much being done to them.

So when you combine rude fans acting stupidly with thuggish players who live by the law of the streets, you have what professional sports are turning into, and the potential for more of the same kinds of behavior we witnessed in the Pistons and the Pacers game.

Well, the players and fans who participated in this fracas all need to be dealt with according to their individual wrongs. Some deserve suspension from playing or watching, and some deserve fines or jail time.

By doling out stiff punishment to those who have earned it, both fans and athletes will start getting the message that their behavior won’t be tolerated. Then maybe professional sports will again be suitable for nice people and their children.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Ode to the Left Be-Heinz

This poem is attributed to Tom Graffagnino, whom I do not know, and I cannot verify that he actually wrote it. Is so, good job, Tom. If not, well, he could do worse.


When polls were closed,

We all supposed

It couldn't be much closer!

Now Libs are torn,


And Soros is moroser!

The votes were cast,

And now at last

The counting could begin.

Monsieur LaMoore

Was very sure

His flick would do George in.

But now instead,

The states are Red,

And Hollywood is Blue.

Ben Affleck's mad,

Sarandon's sad,

And Whoopi's come unglued!

Begala whines,

The Left Be-Heinz,

"The Boss" just wonders..."HOW!?"

James Carville pouts,

O'Donnell shouts...

No time to Ketchup now!

The Kerry Crowd

Was brash and loud;

The cool and hip were pumped!

In Franken-Land

They took their stand...

"War Hero" John's been dumped.


Lord, what a mess!

Dan Rather wears a frown.

He's quite distressed...

Some say depressed.

Poor Dan,

He's goin' down.

There's "Hardball" Chris,

Who loved to kiss

The rear of liberal guests...

Convention night

Ol' Zell was right...

To that we may attest.


It's sinkin' in...

Oh my! They're all in shock!

"Ohio's RED!"

John Kerry's Dead!"

"By George! We've been out-Foxed!"

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Terrorists and Nukes

Not long ago a story made the rounds that some Islamic cleric had given “permission” to O/Usama bin Laden to use nuclear weapons against the United States. That is an ominous piece of news, indeed. We know bin Laden is out to kill Americans any way possible, and the prospect of a nuclear explosion on American soil is a chilling scenario.

While an actual “suitcase nuke” or “briefcase nuke” isn’t possible ­– the technology does not yet exist to make a nuke fit in a space that small – it is possible to put one in a container the size of a garbage can. And with the porous northern and southern US borders, this seems a reasonable threat. Our salt-water ports also seem to be easy targets.

So what do we do? Since the only way to defeat terrorism is to meet it head on and and capture or kill those who perpetrate it, the US must do three things:

First, we have to do a much better job of securing the borders and ports, using Coast Guard, National Guard or whatever force of trained and armed personnel we have at our disposal. We have to severely punish those that get through when we catch them, as well as those who are caught trying to get in. These steps will make the job more difficult for the barbarians who would attempt to smuggle a nuke into the US.

Second, we must improve our intelligence operation by increasing the flow of information and improving cooperation between government agencies. We must put more operatives in the field to infiltrate problem nations and terrorist factions around the world. We have to have a much better picture of the world and the evil players in it.

Third, we must let the world know that if terrorists succeed in setting off a nuclear device in the US, Pandora’s box is open, and the nuclear war is on. Using the best intelligence we can find, we will punish the country that allowed this plot to be devised within its borders, and any other country involved in the process, and blow a substantial portion of those countries off the face of the Earth with our own nuclear weapons. These murderous barbarians had better understand that if they first use a nuke, we would follow suit. We’ve got more of them than they have, we’ve got bigger ones, and we’ve got better ways to deliver them than they do.

We will cause them far more pain than they can cause us, and even though we may not know exactly who was behind the attack, we will take out a huge number of their brothers, sisters and children. And we’ll keep doing that until they stop, or until the Middle East is one big radioactive field of rubble.

This last point is sure to send those who believe war is always wrong and those who like to deny the terrorist threat over the edge, of course. They will complain that terrorists would not be after us if we hadn’t attacked Iraq, if we didn’t have a military presence in the Middle East, if we didn’t support Israel, if we have Christians living here, if we didn’t like baseball, eat ham, or any number of other excuses they dream up to blame the United States for the barbaric behavior of radical, rabid Muslim fanatics.

These are the same people who tried to equate the wrongs committed at the Abu Ghraib prison with the crimes of Saddam Hussein’s thugs, who believe the Marine who killed the injured terrorist in the Fallujah mosque should be tried as a war criminal, and think the Bush administration is on a par with the Third Reich.

They are either not rational people, or they don’t understand the severity of the threat of terrorism, so they must be ignored. The United States must continue to defend its way of life against terrorist threats and others that may arise, and to spread freedom across the globe.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


Do we support our troops who are in harms way, or don’t we?

Most of us would automatically answer a quick “yes” to that question. But not everyone.

You’ve heard the story. A group of Marines entered a mosque in Fallujah where terrorists had been encountered the day before. Left behind when the first group of marines left the mosque were five injured terrorists who had received medical care before the Marines left.

Before I continue the story, let’s make sure we all understand that the day before this incident occurred, these same terrorists, along with others, were trying to kill US military personnel. They shot at them, they fired RPGs at them. In action other places, terrorists booby trapped their dead or injured comrades with bombs that were supposed to, and in some cases did, kill US military personnel. Some of the personnel in this second group to enter the mosque had been injured the day before this incident occurred by terrorists trying to kill them.

So, when the Marines entered the mosque there were five terrorists who had been injured and left behind. One appeared to be faking being dead. When he moved, a Marine shot and killed him. A terrorist had shot that Marine the day before. The military is investigating whether this Marine acted properly or not.

Footage of the shooting was aired on Al-Jazeera television. Iraqis interviewed Tuesday in Baghdad harshly condemned the killing.

The hypocrisy of this situation is nearly overwhelming. To wit:

  • It’s okay for the terrorists to play dirty pool, and use literally any means imaginable to kill our personnel. But US personnel must play by a pretty strict set of rules, and risk persecution and prosecution if, with little time to make a decision that might mean the life of one or more of them, somebody makes the wrong decision.
  • Iraqis condemned the act as "cowardice" and "something forbidden in Islam," although Islam apparently doesn’t condemn the terrorists. Praise be to Allah for his wisdom.
  • And this cake-taker: "It is something forbidden in Islam, an American killed an unarmed Iraqi prisoner inside a mosque," said one Iraqi. Islam does not condemn Iraqis for using a mosque as a fortress, but it does condemn our personnel who were being shot at by those in the mosque if they attack the mosque. Praise be to Allah for his wisdom.

A spokesperson for the International Red Cross reminded us that “the Geneva Conventions are clear: Protection of wounded combatants once they are out of action is a basic rule.” He did not explain how Marines are supposed to judge that a terrorist who had been trying to kill American troops is “out of action,” or whether he’s just waiting for the opportunity to explode a bomb under his clothing and take out everybody in the room.

In the US, people claiming to be for human rights are ready to hang this Marine. This is despicable, particularly before the investigation has even begun. But even if the Marine is determined to have acted improperly, he should not be punished. No one who was not present can be allowed to second-guess what that Marine did in that highly stressful and dangerous situation.

Charles Heyman, a senior defense analyst with Jane's Consultancy Group in Britain, defended the Marine's actions, saying the wounded man could have been concealing a firearm or grenade. "In a combat infantry soldier's training, he is always taught that his enemy is at his most dangerous when he is severely wounded," Heyman said. If the injured man makes even the slightest move, "in my estimation they would be justified in shooting him."

That’s exactly right, Mr. Heyman. And every red-blooded American ought to rise to the defense of this Marine. Anyone who doesn’t deserves to be put into one of these situations and see how they react.

There have been in past wars incidents where it is clear that US military personnel have improperly injured or killed enemy fighters who should not have been harmed. In such cases, it is proper to prosecute the errant personnel. This isn’t one of those cases.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Crime and Punishment: Rethinking the Death Penalty

The verdict in the Scott Peterson case has brought the death penalty to the fore once again. I find myself re-examining my position, which is that I favor the death penalty for the most horrific crimes, such as murder and rape.

Every society has the responsibility to set rules for its members, and also to set penalties for those who don’t follow the rules. People who commit the acts listed above have earned and deserve the harshest punishment. The members of the society deserve not to be burdened by these vermin.

And so, I believe the death penalty is sometimes an appropriate punishment for the most serious crimes, fairly applied. Obviously, I do not consider the death penalty to be immoral, and in fact consider it a proper tool so long as the society has chosen it through a deliberative process.

However, since the death penalty cannot be reversed, it must be administered with great care. There is no greater error than for a nation to wrongly take the life of citizens. We have made some mistakes in the past, wrongly convicting people and sentencing them to death. If we are going to put people to death for committing crimes, we must be absolutely certain that they are guilty. Absent absolute certainty, the death penalty should not be imposed.
But there are other considerations for my rethinking the death penalty that are based in practicality. I believe that the death penalty carries with it a deterrent effect when it is swiftly applied. Waiting 10 to 20 years to execute a guilty criminal is not very effective. However, since some people really don’t care whether they live or die, the deterrent factor of dying for one’s crimes doesn’t matter to them.

There is also an imbalance in legal representation in death penalty cases: People with money can buy better lawyers than those without money.

But if we do away with the death penalty, or reserve its imposition only in cases where guilt is certain, the only acceptable alternative for those crimes is life imprisonment. But today, life in prison for those who have been found guilty of these crimes is inadequate. Prison life today often means cable TV; gymnasiums for body building; law libraries providing criminals the resources for all manner of mischief, including filing legal actions against the government; conjugal visits; and all manner of soft perks that are inconsistent with the concept of punishment for horrific crimes. If you are guilty of a crime serious enough that you might have received the death penalty, life in prison under the present system is not an acceptable punishment.

If we as a society want to completely do away with the death penalty, then we must implement a system of imprisonment for life that is very unpleasant. Cruel and unusual punishment is a concept that must be set aside when it comes to imposing punishment for murderers and rapists and others now eligible for the death penalty. These people ought to be sentenced to several hours a day at hard labor and the rest of the time in solitary confinement. These criminals ought to view death as the easy way out.

So until life in prison becomes the dire and unpleasant experience that criminals deserve, I’ll continue to support the death penalty, fairly applied, with guilt absolutely determined.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Presidential IQs

One site derives IQ from SAT scores. Here's how Bush, Kerry and Gore stacked up.

President George W. Bush scored a total of 1206 for an IQ of 124.

John Kerry reportedly got a 1190 SAT score, for an IQ of 122.

Al Gore got 1355 on his SAT, or a 134 IQ.

Other Presidents' IQs:

Washington, Reagan, Ford, Kennedy - 117 or 119

G Bush - 126

Nixon, Carter - 143


Who voted for Bush and Kerry, according to state average IQs

There was a report after the 2000 election that purported to show that Bush got votes from those states with the lowest average IQ, and that Gore got votes from those states with the highest average IQ.

That report was a hoax, but the question is an interesting one.

I have been unable to find any data of state-by-state (including the District of Columbia) IQ comparisons, except for IQs derived from SAT and/or ACT scores. Not everyone in each state takes the SAT or the ACT, so we have to question the importance of what this really tells us.

It shows Kerry getting the top four IQ states, and Bush getting 12 of the 13 lowest IQ states. Kerry wins D.C., which has the third lowest IQ of all. Otherwise, the distribution in the middle is fairly even.

IQ is reported on a 200-point scale, with 0 having no IQ, 200 having an extraordinarily high IQ, and an average IQ being the median score of 100.

Since the highest average IQ is 104, and the lowest average IQ is 94, the “smartest” state and the “least smart” state in this scenario are only 10 points apart. On a 200-point scale, that means the “smartest” and the “least smart” are only 5 percent apart, which isn’t really horribly significant, in terms of intelligence.

Here is the breakdown of voting by state, ranked by IQ according to SAT and ACT scores:

104 IQ
New Hampshire - K

103 IQ
Oregon - K
Massachusetts - K
Wisconsin - K

102 IQ
Colorado - B
Connecticut - K
Illinois - K
Iowa - B
Kansas - B
Minnesota - K
Montana - K
Nebraska - K
North Dakota - B
Oklahoma - B
Vermont - K
Washington - K

101 IQ
Alaska - B
Maryland - K
Michigan - K
Missouri - K
New York - K
Ohio - B
Utah - B
Wyoming - B

100 IQ
Arizona - B
California - K
Idaho - B
Maine - K
Nevada - B
New Jersey - K
Pennsylvania - K
Rhode Island - K
South Dakota - B
Virginia - B
West Virginia - B

99 IQ
Delaware - K
Hawaii - K
Indiana - B

98 IQ
Florida - B
Arkansas - B

97 IQ
Alabama - B
Georgia - B
Kentucky - B
Louisiana - B
North Carolina - B
Tennessee - B
Texas - B

96 IQ
New Mexico - B

95 IQ
District of Columbia - K

94 IQ
Mississippi - B
South Carolina - B

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Martha's Chair

There have been many spoofs about Martha Stewart since here legal troubles began. This is my favorite.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Arafat: Dead or dying

I do not wish harm to come to anyone. I don’t want my enemies to get hit by a car, or to come down with some horrible disease, or any such thing. Yes, I hope they get their just desserts, but I don’t wish tragedy upon them. It’s just the wrong thing to do.

However, in the case of Yasser Arafat, I tempted to make an exception. And now that I think about it, maybe I’ll make exceptions for a few other people, notably O/Usama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Abu Musab Zarqawi. These four are, if not the most horrible people on Earth, four of the worst.

Arafat is said to be, depending upon which report you believe, dead, in an irreversible coma, in a plain old coma, near death, etc. Frankly, in his case, the sooner he is dead, the better off the world is.

His organization, the Palestine Liberation Organization, is responsible for the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of innocent Israeli men, women and children in indiscriminate attacks aimed at innocents. Arafat may never have killed or hurt anyone personally, but he has led one of the most insidious terrorist organizations in history.

Now I don’t pretend to understand the finer points of the argument between the Palestinians and the Israelis, but in order to condemn the acts of Arafat and the PLO, all you need to understand is that they murder innocent people.

If the Palestinians feel the need to go to war with Israel, then form military organizations and attack the Israeli military organizations. To do other than that is not just cowardly, but is symptomatic of an evil people who will use any tactic to achieve their purposes.

And that is what Arafat is: a cowardly, ruthless murderer who has drawn breath for far too long already, and whose place in Hell is warm and ready for him.

It is hard to imagine a replacement for Arafat that would not be better than Arafat. The younger generation is said to be more open to finding a peaceful solution to the problems of the Palestinians, and some say even the hardliners are more amenable to a peaceful solution than was Arafat.

Yasser Arafat: Good Riddance!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

The Democrats, post-election

Well, George Bush won the election, not in a landslide, but handily. He is the first President since 1988 to be re-elected with more than a 50 percent vote total, he won by a solid three percent margin and by more than three million votes, and when you look at all the red on the Electoral Vote Map you understand why the Democrats feel blue.

Following the 2000 election, which was by no means a mandate, Bush understood that while he squeaked through to victory, he was nonetheless the duly elected President, even if by an odd series of events. His job was to be the President he should be, and he proceeded to govern as if he had won in a landslide.

“How can he be so bold,” the Democrats demanded, “since he barely won the election?” Some were less charitable in their evaluation, claiming that the Republicans had stolen the election, or that the Supreme Court had delivered the Presidency to Bush through a fraudulent process. Most Americans recognized those charges for the hogwash they were, but that is all beside the point. George Bush was the President, and he gained that office through the constitutionally prescribed method.

But such silly charges cannot be made this time. The election ran pretty smoothly, and the winner cannot be disputed. The Democrats, however, still sing the same old tired song: “Bush must reach across the aisle to bring unity to government.” And one suggested with a straight face that since Bush only won by only three-plus million votes, he needed to pay attention to the wishes of Democrats in setting the agenda for his second term.

To the Democrats, who still don’t get it, here is the message. “You lost. The Republicans won. They get to set the agenda, not you. If you had won, you could call the shots. But you didn’t. You lost. So sit down and shut up, and try to find a way to contribute something positive during the next four years.”

You can start by playing fair on judicial nominations, and not opposing nearly every nominee because he or she does not share your liberal views and will not make law from the bench. Next, you can give up your petulant and childish sniping at George Bush. He’s the President, and he’s entitled to a certain amount of respect because of his position.

This list could go on and on, but you get the idea. The Republicans are in charge. They have the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives. It’s up to Democrats, not President Bush, to reach out and unite for the good of the country.

The Democratic Party is at a crossroads. It is in disarray following the election, and can’t understand what happened. The answer to this dilemma is that the Democratic Party is in one place, and most Americans are somewhere else. The party has drifted so far left that a majority of people who consider themselves Democrats no longer identifies with it.

As I said in a previous post, the nation repudiated the liberalism of the Democrats with a fairly resounding defeat on Tuesday. Still, the party leadership hasn’t apparently heard the message that that defeat is sending so loudly and so clearly.

We conservatives may rightly relish both the Bush victory and the triumph of conservative values over liberal ones. But unless and until the Democratic Party is reclaimed by people with a realistic view of what the American people consider right and proper, the bickering and sniping will continue, and not much progress will be made on important issues.

Seeing through the Democrat fog

The following excerpt is from the blog of Rebecca Harris, a bright and insightful 16 year-old who describes herself as A Conservative White Chick

Reading Becky's thoughts gives us hope for the future.

Victory is sweet

Ah I must say this is a happy day for Americans. (In other words, Republicans.) The GOP has a majority. Bush won re-election. (I’m one proud Ohioan today folks. ) In fact, what makes me happier is that Tom Daschle is OUT. After trying to make un-registered Indians vote I think everyone knew that he was hanging on for dear life. The things Democrats will do to steal the vote is astounding. I’m sure everyone’s heard them screaming about showing your ID before you vote. They don’t like it. They say it’s “intimidation.”

You have to show your ID at an airport.
You have to show your ID when you rent a movie.
You need an ID to drive.
But to vote? No way! That’s intimidating people!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Liberalism Repudiated

This election was, among other things, a repudiation by the American people of liberalism. Disagree? Well, consider the following points:

  • John Kerry, the most liberal Senator, and John Edwards, a liberal Senator who made millions as a trial lawyer, were soundly defeated in an election despite the support of ultra-liberal Senator Ted Kennedy.
  • George W. Bush was handily reelected with numbers in both the popular vote and electoral vote that exceeded the 2000 election.
  • Tom Daschle, Senate minority leader, and one of the leading liberals in Congress, was defeated in a reelection bid after 30 years as an elected official.
  • The Republicans gained seats in both the Senate and House.
  • Republican conservatives were reelected to several Senate and House seats.
  • The increased voter registrations of Democrats were matched by increased voter registrations of Republicans, and this I beleive illustrates that conservatives were determined not to let Democrat initiatives get the better of them.
I believe this is a reflection of the latent conservatism of the American people, who have been patiently giving in to liberal initiatives, a little at a time. They have awakened to the reality of what liberalism is doing to their country, and they have said "Stop."

Now that George Bush no longer has to worry about being reelected, perhaps he will behave as President in a more conservative manner, and address the issues that exist under his administration that make conservatives uncomfortable.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

D-Day Is Here

Well, today's the day. With all the polls shifting up and down, and generally disagreeing with each other, it's very difficult to predict how this day will end.

On the one hand, I have difficulty believing that a majority of voters in enough of the right states will fall for John Kerry's charlatanism and vote him in. On the other hand, I recognize the tremendous level of hatred that the Left has for George Bush. And, let's face it: Bush is vulnerable by his own hand, although less so than by the distortions and outright lies promulgated by the Kerry/Edwards campaign and the Bush haters.

Overall, however, an objective look at the political landscape finds us in pretty good shape. The economy is okay and unemployment is better than when Clinton was reelected. Although Iraq is a troubling quagmire, and despite the media's negative portrayal of the Iraq situation, a lot of good things are happening there. And Afghanistan has just completed successful democratic elections. Our actions against al Qaeda and terrorist sympathizers and supporters like the Taliban and Saddam Hussein have weakened and confused terrorist enemies. As a result, the U.S. has not been attacked since 2001. We have to keep the heat on the terrorists.

I shudder to think what will happen if Kerry is elected. His drive for world consensus and his apparent devotion to the United Nations scare the Hell out of me. His Viet Nam service record shows what an opportunist he is, and his Senate disservice shows what an empty suit he is. A man with no philosophical center as President of the U.S. in 2005-2009 is the wrong man, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

Say a prayer for America. Pray that the good Lord makes George W. Bush the victor.