Friday, October 28, 2005

The Lady Justice

Having written the last article reminded me of a very funny event that happened in GWB's first term. You might recall the minor flap (which should have been a much bigger story, dealing with certain very obvious psychological issues) in which then Attorney General Ashcroft had the statues of the Lady Justice covered so he wouldn't have to be in the presence of her exposed breast.

Seems Mr Ashcroft was to speak in the Great Hall of the Department of Justice about shifting emphasis toward the War on the Rights of the American Individual (misnamed for popular misguidance, The War on Terror). At some point during his speech, or setting up for it (unclear) he noticed those pale orbs above and behind him. He developed a facial twitch.

He ordered that the offending statues be encased in burqas so that he could continue.

'Tis rather telling, when the US Attorney General is unable to stand comfortably in the presence of America's primary symbol of Justice. You have to wonder about the devils in the shadows of the mind of Mr Ashcroft.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Thursday, October 27, 2005

She Didn't Make the Cut!

Today, Harriet Miers excused herself from the room. In the wake of revelations from transcripts of speeches she gave in the 90's, showing her to be a malleable, shape-shifting ball of silly putty, she finally threw in the black terry-cloth robe. The world is a better place.

I stayed away from this debate until now because I suck as a prognosticator (I'm much better as a procrastinator, but I'll deal with that later). We didn't know much about Ms Miers, and as time dragged on, bits began to appear. Finally, I made my decision based on the fact that she has no record of having studied Constitutional law. Then, after I'd heard all I needed, I heard more: she plays the chameleon, becoming what she believes her audience wants her to be.

Not good.

Now, she's withdrawn herself from contention. I'm good with that. I'm given to understand that a groundswell of conservative criticism caused her withdrawal, though that's not what she says.

Leftists, who were pretty mixed about her because of her seeming anti-abortion ethic but, on the other hand, is a woman, place the blame on the "far right wing." Someone even said that Miers, who seems less ept than other potential candidates, might be the Justice to represent the "common man." Or, more politically correctly, the "common person of undetermined gender."

We don't need justices that represent sections of American society. We need Justices who will compare the facts of the cases to the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and simply decide whether the lower court decisions conflict or not. There's no need to complicate it, no need to look at precedent. If the Justices study The Federalist Papers, The Anti-Federalist Papers and other letters and writings of the Founders, they will be able to understand what the Founders meant--and what the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights mean.

For example: After reading various letters written by Thomas Jefferson (and others), it becomes very clear to the point of the absolute that they meant individuals have the right to "Keep and Bear Arms" and that all able bodied men are presumed (but not required) to be the militia.

If, as the socialist sector of the Supremes assert, the Constitution needs to be updated to become more relevant to today's challenges there is, within the Constitution itself, the solution--the Amendment process. It's not the job of the Supremes to redefine the US Constitution.

It seems really odd to me that a student of American law, who has been one long enough to achieve an appointment to the Supreme Court, wouldn't know this.

Disclaimer: I'm not, in the end, an advocate of a Constitutional Republic such as we have now. I think the Republic, as framed in the Founders' papers and the Constitution and the Bill of Rights is the best form of government ever devised by man up to now. As such, I advocate a return to strict adherence to these documents--to the letter. Then, I'd advocate moving on from that point to further limiting government until it is no longer capable of initiating force against individuals.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Pounding Them Into a Single Mold

The evil and corrupt Barbara Kerr, Fuhrer of the California Teachers Assosiation (CTA) has hit the news again today, this time stumping against Props 74, 75 and 76. These are three of the new referenda put together by Guber Terminator in what he mistakenly hopes will actually make California schools better.

Prop 74 purports to make it harder for substandard teachers to get tenure. It'll make it easier to dismiss a poor teacher. (S)he can be let go after two successive unsatisfactory evaluations. Of course, that means the kids have to suffer under a bad teacher for two years. Do we hear the huzzahs?

Prop 75 requires that union members specifically allow unions to use their dues for left wing political purposes. I don't think it lessens the extortion payments if you don't allow it.

Prop 76 seems to limit increases to government schools by the state. It's more than I care about to try to figure out how. I still haven't been able to figure out why local schools need any involvement by state, or for that matter, federal government. Government schools once were wholly operated by the locality. They were better then.

Ms Kerr has been sliming the Guber's office since Ahnold was elected. One of her favorite tag lines claims that teachers help students to be able to succeed "....And no child succeeds alone." I can see it all now. No child can "succeed" (undefined) without government schools, and she plans to keep it that way.

Except that it's even harder to succeed under the handicap of a government "education," as opposed to the kinds of alternative kinds of schooling advocated by many. Among those is simple home schooling, provided by loving parents. Another is the Montessori method.

How about we take government out of the equation and leave parents with their rightful power and responsibility to care for their children, to make decisions as to the methods of rearing and education (and paying the costs of these things) of such children as they decide to have.

Incentives would be for teachers to improve their knowledge and skills rather than to vegetate in dead end government jobs. Parents would be empowered to to bring their kids up according to their own principles.

Barbara Kerr would have to go looking for a real job, and I won't have to listen to her polluting the airwaves any more.


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Safety Leads to Complacency

Once again delving into the depths of memory and, by means of a cursory awareness of history gleaned by a lot of reading, I find that government edicts achieve the opposite ends for which they were enacted.

Don't you find those millions and millions of little stickers on everything you buy demeaning, annoying, ineffective and distracting, not to mention ugly? Isn't it ridiculous that they always use this footless, handless, round-headed stick figure getting smashed, bent, spindled and mutilated by falling, smashing, crushing, dropping and drowning, not to mention getting electrocuted by just about anything with which he might come into proximity?

I recall those heady days in which step ladders didn't have stickers that warn you that you can fall off. They were made of wood then, not superconducting aluminum. Cars didn't have labels telling you to fasten your seat belts--hell what's a seat belt? Radios, tvs and other electric appliances didn't have labels warning against opening up the back--at times, you had to open 'em up. Radios and tvs had tubes that occasionally had to be replaced. Most appliances were built so that they could be taken apart and repaired in the home, if you happened to be handy and had the tools.

Now, I don't miss the days of vacuum tubes and brush-and-bushing kits. I don't even mind that these appliances are no longer repairable with a crescent wrench and a claw hammer, but those moronic stickers and safety labels really tweak my sense of the sensible.

There isn't anyone who doesn't know that you should unplug the item from the electrical source before digging into its guts. Everyone knows it's potentially dangerous to stand on the top rung of a step ladder. I usually use a seat belt in my car, but not because there used to be a little sticker telling me to do so (I peeled the dam thing off, along with all those other stupid stickers). I don't wear them because the 'trolls will cite me if I don't. I don't wear them to save myself in a collision--I'd rather avoid a collision. I wear them so that I can more easily keep my ass in the seat during hard cornering.

The problem is complacency. When you "feel safe," you usually aren't safe. You get lazy. You lose your edge. A compression tester didn't used to have a cage around it; you just knew not to stand close to it as the pressure rose. Drive belts didn't have guards; you kept your fingers out of the way.

The temptation is to say we were smarter then. We paid attention to what we were doing. Of course, there were injuries. It was almost always the dumb guy or the kid who was doing something he shouldn't.

I'm also not opposed to passive safety devices and safe work practices. I am opposed to edicts from government drones who've never worked a day in their lives. I'm opposed to dumbing down. I'm opposed to making the entire world child safe.

Sometimes goal seeking entails taking risks. Sometimes you have to do really dangerous things. Sometimes the danger is worth it. I'll look out for my safety, thank you very much.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Monday, October 17, 2005

An End to Epidemics

Boy, am I relieved! We'll never have to worry about epidemics again! Epidemics are a thing of the past!

Not so fast. The reason we'll never have another epidemic isn't that there'll never be one, it's that they've been renamed. The news media, ever looking for new ways to scare the crap out of The Great Unwashed, has decided that the specter of an epidemic is no longer very scary. Why? We have a flu epidemic just about every year, and it usually ends up that 40 or 50% of us get what amounts to a really bad cold.

How to increase the State of Fear? Read the minds of the Executive Producers of the news at CBS, NBC and ABC. "We'll start calling them pandemics! Nobody knows what a pandemic is, and we'll make it sound like the Black Plague was a walk in the park by comparison. Government schools no longer tell their students about dictionaries, so we can make a pandemic sound really, really bad!"

The word is out. Two or more people who've been in the same county this year get the same illness, It's A Pandemic! We're all going to die!

It's only a matter of time before someone'll call it all GWB's fault.

They've killed Freedom! Those Bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Friday, October 14, 2005

Cell Phone Addiction

Unlike many, I really remember when there were no cell phones. I even remember when there were no touch-tone phones and there was a wire connecting the handset to the phone body. I'll go even a step farther: I was, more than once in my youth, in a town in which you picked up the earpiece, turned a crank, waited for the operator who asked whom you were calling, then manually connected your wire to the plug of the phone of the person you were calling. Thus, the local operator always knew who was phoning whom. Cool, eh?

My first cell phone was a big, heavy thing I got in about 1993. It had a big battery pack that weighed about 4 pounds, and had a handle. You hooked the handset onto it or popped it loose to use it. The handset had the keypad, the earpiece and the mouthpiece, and had a wire to the battery pack. It wasn't worth lugging around unless I knew I'd need it.

Four phones later, I have one that fits in my shirt pocket. I absolutely refuse to buy one of those things you stick in your ear. If you have one of those, and unless you're in a business in which you have to be on the phone a lot, you're a cell phone addict. I maybe put 8-10 minutes a month on my phone.

The funniest phone addict moment I ever observed was a few years ago at Jerry's Famous Deli in Studio City. After we'd settled in and ordered, while waiting for the food, I found myself watching a young couple, apparently on a date, in nice casual evening clothes, each talking to someone else on a cell phone while their food cooled and congealed slowly in front of them.

I've watched mothers ignoring their children while talking on the phone. I've wondered whether to dare to pass a car on the freeway--driving slowly and erratically while its driver talks on the phone, a file of papers draped over the steering wheel. I don't know how many times, while having coffee at Fred and Rob's, I've observed a cell phone addict walk into the coffee shop talking on a phone, try to order and pay for coffee while holding up the conversation on the phone, others in line making faces and comments at the rude individual. I once watched a young woman at the supermarket, cruising slowly down the aisles, picking up this item and that, reading each label to the person on the phone with her. I deeply pitied the poor slob who had to listen to all that and pretend he was interested.

Now, I'm not in favor of laws against using the phone while driving nor at most other times. That said, I feel bad for the poor, insecure fools who can't stand being alone, even while driving to and from work, and thinks (s)he must talk to someone. I'm unhappy at the way so many people seem unaware of their rudeness, talking on the phone while they ought to be giving attention to the person with them.

I like cell phones, but if I had a business and I caught an employee on the phone while (s)he should be dealing with a customer: fired for cause. I'd seriously consider jamming cell phones within the limits of my business.

Perhaps in time, a kind of rational cell phone etiquette may develop. I don't see it so far: not that many know the meaning of the word "etiquette."


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Monday, October 10, 2005

Mes Enfants, We're Being Played!

I don't know if it's others playing our nearly empty-headed politico-parasites or it it's them playing We the People. I suspect it's some of both. I don't mean to imply that the playing is just starting now; it's been going on for a long time. I merely want to draw attention to two current scams, to illustrate by example how it works.

The first possibility is that the US government is being played by foreign actors. The state of fear being what it is, our elected victicrats seem to react to every rumor of another attack by the islamic or communist subhumans (or am I being redundant?). They seem to go into full panic mode and react in just the way the subhumans would like us to--in their fondest dreams: the government finds yet another way to clamp down upon freedom in the United States.

Recent weeks, we've been told that our spooks have uncovered rumors (none dare call it intelligence) that the Osama Bin Llama gang is going to attack New York City's subways soon.

What do the New York MTA trained apes do?

A partial list of what they do not do, that might make some sense is:
Repeal their local laws against self defense.
Recommend training in self defense, use of weapons and citizen's arrest.
Invent ways of mitigating explosive blasts and minimizing damage.
Implement alternatives to subway commuting.

What do they do instead?

What empty-headed authoritarians always do, including:
Station police and military men everywhere, with instructions to search everyone, or certain ones, in a manner inconsistent as possible with the facts of reality.
Make sure everyone is told that their use of public transit is a privilege, not a right.
Arrest anyone who mentions or jokes about any sort of "terrorist" weapon or attack and detain him until he's old.
Set up a foolproof ID that identifies everyone absolutely, except illegal aliens, whose ID starts the day they get the ID.
Develop electronic dossiers on all American travelers (excluding illegal aliens).

Also developing: The bird flu.

You know, we used to have flu epidemics, about once a year. When I was a mite younger, we just pretty much ignored flues unless we got sick, then we took a couple of days off from school and slept a lot. Later, we got vaccinations for it, which may or may not actually help. I got my first flu shot in the Navy. It was followed by the worst case of flu I ever had. I was dog-sick for a week.

I've never had a flu shot since. I refuse 'em. Most years, I don't get sick. The last time I got the flu was five or six years ago. When I have gotten it, I've been pretty uncomfortable for 36 to 48 hours, then it's over. Every five or six years, I can live with that.

Every year the State Science Institute, I mean the Centers for Disease Control (Randian slip, sorry) predicts dire events with the beginning of the "flu season." It even has a season, now. The "season" comes with dire predictions of high body counts among the very young and the very old. Everyone is admonished to go in and get a flu shot. The deaths happen in far smaller numbers than we were warned--whether because of the vaccine or because of the con, I'm never sure. I didn't get the shot and I didn't get sick.

Leads me to wonder why they so dearly want everyone to get the shot. What's in that shot, anyway?

But, I've digressed.

This year's con appears to be the Bird Flu. They openly admit that they don't have enough doses for everyone (there weren't enough doses last year, either. Somehow, we survived). This year, they're trying something new. They're floating trial balloons for military-enforced quarantines.

If the quarantine thing works, it'll establish that the federal government can bottle up any locality in the country, totally limiting movement in and out of the area, based on a trumped up reason ordered up by the President from his pet quacks at CDC.

I wonder if the birds will pay attention to the quarantine.


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Friday, October 07, 2005

State of Fear

Mr Crichton didn't address what we're being told is "islamic terrorism" in his book. His terrorists were of the home-grown, greener sort, but the "terrorism" we're continually being warned of seems to fall under the same umbrella.

Aside: Why is it that our Irish cousins aren't really, really angry about the enviro-liars co-opting their color to advance their nefarious causes? Bullshit is brown, not green.

While we're being told day after day that the islamic funny-mentalists are attacking our very way of life (which I tend to believe, by the way), both of our very own fascist political parties are doing their very best to move our way of life toward that of the most restrictive of the islamic dictatorships. I've actually found myself wondering where I can buy a man-burqa and what colors do they come in? I draw the line at pink.

What with the lengthening list of near-terrorist acts, foiled at the last moment by our ever-vigilant spooks (who seem to have been able to do nothing right prior to 9/11/01), we should be utterly grateful that our safety is in such careful hands. What a timely maturation, that transformed our federal law enforcement agencies from oafish jack-booted gestapo-thugs to benevolent protectors of mom, flag and apple pie virtually overnight.

I feel safe, which is ever so different from actually being safe.

It's a wonder how the tv reporters are always able to find any number of people at the airports and train stations who, in the shadow of camo-clad soldiers with M16's, will say with a giggle, "I'm good with it. It makes me feel safe." Never do they make the connection that these stalwarts were, just last year, ditching English class and shotgunning Dad's beer. They don't trust them with ammo for the M16's.

So, what's happening is that in order to safeguard American Freedom, government is turning the country into a police state.

But, we feel safe.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Thursday, October 06, 2005

According to the LA Times.....

A leftist yellow rag I never read, something shameful is happening in the nation's prisons. Apparently it's happening in both federal and all of the state prisons, though there seems less a problem in the prisons of the eastern states.

Lifers are dying in large numbers in prison. Yes, prisoners serving life terms die while incarcerated.

I'm shocked, shocked, I tell you.


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Monday, October 03, 2005

Send Us Your Poor.....

As far as I am concerned, while the rest of the world wallows under despotism and dictatorship, and the United States still enjoys just a wee bit more freedom then the next most free country. If individuals from any of those relatively unfree states decide that it's in their interest to look for opportunities in the United States, I welcome them. I don't see where any "naturalization" is needed, nor any tallying, categorizing nor quotas. Bring 'em on. America can use more workers, entrepreneurs, inventors and assorted thinkers. We really need people that can teach.

What we don't need are more welfare cases. America is loaded with socialist, utterly irrational judges who think, for whatever twisted reason (and I use the word reason very loosely here), that public money should not only go to nonproductive Americans, but to nonproductive foreigners!

The big howl by taxpayers right now is about "illegal aliens" entering the US and using local government schools, using local hospital and medical facilities which are required to provide services to anyone regardless of ability to pay, and many other government services that can ber accessed by anyone for no charge. Most of these taxpayers think the solution is to "seal the borders" and stop these foreigners from entering the country.

This is an impossible task. If there's anything the United States have, it's borders.

Many of those who hold the above views will also say, many truthfully, that they have nothing against those "illegals" who come here to work, if they're not a burden on government's largess. Realizing that many of these people have very little to look forward to in their home countries, how can we blame them? We thrive on immigrants! We're all immigrants, or descended from immigrants.

What if the Indians along the eastern seaboard had had an INS in the 17th Century?

The problem isn't the immigrants, legal or illegal (aside: if INS was doing a decent job, there'd be more legal immigrants and fewer illegal ones), the problem is the Welfare State. If these immigrants knew that by coming into the United States, they must become productive, a day's work for a day's pay, and build a life here. Almost all of them come here with the idea of doing just that.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California