Saturday, June 25, 2005

Harkin vs. Harkin

Certainly a long-serving US Senator like Tom Harkin wouldn't change his opinion on an issue based purely on which party held the Senate?

Or would he?

Hawspipe settles the issue.

Attention personnel professionals

Hey, I've been through personnel processing many times. And being the public spirited sweetheart of a guy that I am, occasionally I offer wisdom like this.

Now today while on the wrong side of the tracks I found this. NSFW, or at least if it is you need to go get a better job.

Girl, 14, Accused Of Robbing Pizza Delivery Driver At Gunpoint

Right here

What struck me was "According to the bureau of labor statistics, driver-sales type work, such as pizza delivery, is the fifth most deadly occupation when you combine traffic fatalities and homicides.

The bureau says it's a job more deadly than roofing, electrical power installation, farm work, and construction work."

It's not too late... come to the finals at the Maryland Dancesport competition being held at the BWI Marriott just outside Baltimore. You've already missed some good stuff, but there's still more tonight and again tomorrow up until about 4PM.

Yes, I was there too competing in the pro-am division. I racked up win after win in smooth, Latin and rhythm. Of course I probably ought to give credit where credit is due and note that no competition for me ever showed up. So if you're a half-empty sort of person you can say that I finished last in every event too. I definitely should have lost in the American samba, where I must have looked like a man with a bum leg trying to mime a bout of Tourette's.

Two more events occur in the DC area later this summer. The Virginia State Championships event will be in Reston in mid July, and the Capital Dancesport event is in Alexandria, VA in late August.


In an effort to correct budget shortfalls, the District of Columbia has just seized the Supreme Court building and sold it to WalMart.

A DC spokesperson said "We've had problems with money because we have so many Federal buildings here that are exempt from property taxation. Now, thanks to the Kelo decision, we can generate some serious tax dollars to help pay for the next time the chief of police's car is stolen".

A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood was disappointed that their bid to turn the facility into the Blackmun Abortion Museum failed.

Meanwhile Wal-Mart spokespeople were exuberant. "Once we kick those nine old folks out, what you'll have here is just us".

If you believe the above you really have no business being on the Internet. Near as I can tell the only part that's true is the bit about taxation in DC and the car heist. Meanwhile I'm sure Scrappleface or Iowahawk have done a better job with this.

The way to a better Supreme Court

Let's see who can guess who voted for the Kelo decision:

Kennedy? Souter? O'Connor? Thomas? Scalia? Rehnquist? Ginsberg? Stephens? Breyer?

Oh come on, this one is easy.

Here's a hint - if they get good press, they voted for it. If they've been the subjects of repeated smear campaigns (Thomas, Scalia), they voted against it. If they were submitted immediately after someone was sodomized by a vicious smear campaign (Kennedy, after the first "borking"), they voted for it. If they were appointed by Democrat Bill Clinton (Ginsberg, Breyer), they voted for it.

How to account for Stephens and Souter? Both were appointed by Republicans, as were all four dissenters (Scalia, Thomas, O'Connor and Rehnquist). But Stephens and Souter were appointed by moderate Republicans facing hostile Dems controlling both houses of Congress. Stephens was appointed by Gerald Ford after the Dems finally succeeded in screwing their old nemesis Richard Nixon - there's no way anyone but a liberal was getting past a Senate loaded with Dems. Souter was appointed by George Bush 41, not so long after the unconscionable nastiness of the Dems' attacks on Robert Bork.

Can we draw any conclusions? (Try and stop me....) How about this?...If you want defensible decisions from the Supreme Court, wrt property rights at least, let a Republican President do the appointing, with a Republican Congress to approve.

And let them come up for a vote.

The real Klan

You know, I can't stand Robert Byrd, the insufferable Senator from West Virginia. If reminding people that he once belonged to the KKK will help get his sorry butt out of office, I say fire at will. But let's show some respect for historical accuracy here.

I followed a link to Wizbang and saw commenter after commenter making ritual denunciations of the Klan. Terrific - we certainly don't need any of what they've come to represent. But when was the last time anyone took a look at how they came to represent it?

The simple fact is that the Klan was popular nationwide until well into the last century. They were even represented as the heroes of one of the world's best known early movies, "Birth of a Nation".

And it wasn't just a Southern thing either. It was found throughout the North too, including central IL where I grew up. I had at least one older relative (deceased for half a century now) who was a member, and his quote was that he couldn't see anything wrong with an organization that required its members to be free, white and 21. Enlightened he wasn't, but he was typical of his generation.

As for the ambient racism, a town not far away (LaSalle-Peru, IL) was known to have signs on each end of town saying "Nigger - don't let the sun set on you". There were few blacks or Jews in the area, and there were enough Catholics to take care of themselves, so it must have been kind of frustrating if everyone was seeking violence and destruction.

Incidentally, we've had entire political parties dedicated to intolerance, such as the Know-Nothings and the Anti-Masonic party.

The Klan is associated with terrorizing minorities, particularly blacks. But have you seen pictures of lynched blacks? Look in the crowds - how many of them are wearing Klan outfits? The fact is that lynching was approved by much of the population once upon a time. It didn't take the Klan to start or even accelerate lynching, and in fact the term predates the Klan.

And it so happens that I have a very distant cousin, who was at least half white for sure, who allegedly was lynched out in western Iowa somewhere. Nowadays no one is quite sure how it happened, but the theory is that he was accused of stealing a horse. Here is an account of a white guy named Bowen who was lynched in Texas.

The recent book "Freakonomics" studies some of the most offbeat things, and among them is the KKK. The book tells of one Stetson Kennedy who infiltrated the Klan - here's a passage:
But if the Ku Klux Klan of the 1940s wasn't uniformly violent, what was it? The Klan that Stetson Kennedy found was in fact a storry fraternity of men, most of them poorly educated and with poor prospects, who needed a place to vent-and an excuse for occasionally staying out all night. That their fraternity engaged in quasi-religious chanting and oath taking and hosanna hailing, all of it top secret, made it that much more appealing.

Kennedy also found the Klan to be a slick money-making operation, at least for those near the top of the organization. Klan leaders had any number of revenue sources: thousands of dues-paying rank-and-file members; business owners who hired the Klan to scare off the unions or who paid the Klan protection money; Klan rallies that generated huge cash donations; even the occasional gunrunning or moonshine operation. Then there were rackets such as the Klan's Death Benefit Association, which sold insurance policies to Klan members and accepted only cash or personal checks made out to the Grand Dragon himself.
Yep, it was a big boys' club for losers. Setting up a local branch of such an organization was a way for Robert Byrd to promote himself and and live off poor people. It's little wonder he became a Democrat Senator - it's the same thing on a larger scale.

(Want to know the ingenious way in which Stetson Kennedy turned the Klan into a laughingstock? Read "Freakanomics".)

How busy was the Klan? In terms of lynchings at least there were some 4000-odd lynchings between around 1880 and 1950, but not all were black and not all of those were by the Klan for sure (not that the Klan wouldn't lynch or terrorize whites too - I'm just trying to come up with some sort of ballpark estimate). In contrast, over less than 5 years 1063 people have been killed by Palestinian violence and terror, yet some people think they're the good guys.

But hey, let's hang 4000 lynchings on the Klan. Literally millions of men had had something to do with the Klan at one time or another over that period. Lynchings by the Klan at least appears to have been fairly uncommon, and chapters who did do it might well have been the exception rather than the rule. When Klan membership is common as it was, it can be difficult to determine whether people were acting as Klansmen or just as people who happened to be Klan members. I don't know - I don't have the data.

Now suppose that every last trace of the Klan disappeared from the earth this instant. IMO something comparable would arise in its place. Dung by any other name would smell as bad, and if we don't want the Klan back then we must avoid creating the conditions that incubated it in the first place.

Is the above a defense of the Klan? Hardly. But let's not make out as if any past association with the Klan is some sort of indelible stain or original sin. Unless someone can dig up some actual terrorism conducted by Byrd's little scam, his past association probably says more about his age and where he grew up than anything else.

Flag burning... a hate crime against veterans and patriots.

So if we must permit it in the name of free speech, let's get all the other hate crime legislation off the books too.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Denzel Washington, great American

Greg Hlatky tells us about it.

Energy policy

The Ergosphere writes here. I wrote comment #4, and maybe there will be more.

Dick Durbin: phony

That was an apology?

Sorry Dick, but you don't wait a week. You don't wait until your whoremasters in Chicago come down on you for it. You don't continue to deplore Guantanamo even as you try to distance yourself from your grossly inappropriate Nazi parallels. You don't make continued references to others' "misunderstandings", and in any case what you said was plain as day - you are the one straining to come up with an alternate interpretation. And if you
want to look more sincere than you did, you'd be taking a step in the right direction by studying Jimmy Swaggart ("I have sinned!").

Video here, via Glenn Reynolds.

I'll confess that I couldn't stand the man before, and I've voted against him every chance I've had. Looking at him was probably what convinced Alan Keyes to run for Senate in IL. Durbin is a party hack all the way regardless of what is good for IL, and the sooner he is gone from Congress the better.

UPDATE: From C-Log. They didn't see an apology either.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Belated recognition

Medpundit points to this item about a man who played a key role in one of the most publicized events in medical history, yet I'm betting that you've never heard of him. I sure hadn't.

What you've been missing

The Daily Dancer.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

CNN and lynching

CNN is showing a feature about a black man who barely escaped lynching and subsequently started the "Black Holocaust Museum" in Milwaukee.

One can quarrel with this idea on several bases. For one, last I knew the Jews weren't selling "Holocaust" franchises. Godwin's Law is due for an extension.

In fact, for all we hear about lynching, we're only talking a few thousand over decades. As bad as that is, it's not in the ballpark with the Holocaust, which killed off around 6 million Jews over a much shorter period. It works out to roughly a 1,000,000% difference. No hair-splitting here.

And not only blacks were lynched. Who made up the rest? Many, including Jews. The Leo Frank case in Atlanta was an example of the latter. I'm not going to jack around with the numbers, but it might be interesting to see which groups were lynched more often as a proportion of their populations.

But what led to this post was the repeated mention of efforts to make lynching a Federal crime. Good grief, why get the feds involved, especially nowadays when it appears that things are under control?

Note to CNN - if more govt is the answer, it's probably a stupid question.

Go big or go home

Rathergate, the Downing Street memos...what's with these people? Doesn't anybody want to do any real work nowadays?

Consider "Baron" James Reavis. He went to churches and archives across the southwestern US, Mexico and Spain examining, altering and forging documents until he convinced a lot of people that he owned a huge tract of land which encompassed much of Arizona and part of New Mexico.

Eventually he was busted and spent a couple of years in the federal pen, but he had a heck of a run in the late 1800's before he was exposed.