Saturday, February 26, 2005

Tonight's episode of Law and Order: Criminal Intent was a bit disturbing.
Long story short, with the names changed because I don't remember what they were on the show: Jim and Bob are good friends. At first, the police suspect Bob of murder but later realize he has to be innocent. The police now suspect Jim and believe Jim will expose himself if they arrest Bob. So they arrest Bob, knowing full well that Bob is innocent, getting as far as arraignment where they drop the charges and let Bob go. On the way out of the courthouse, Bob and Jim have a confrontation where things are said, at the prodding of the police, that make it clear that Jim is truly the guy they're after.

Bob ought to be suing for false arrest. That was terrible, a clear violation of the 4th amendment. Read it:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
So I'm no Constitutional scholar, but I read that to mean that a person cannot be arrested without probably cause. Well, hell, they had no probably cause on Bob. In fact, they knew for certain that it wasn't Bob. That freakin' Detective Goren, willing to use whatever means necessary to achieve his desired end. Yes, I know it's a TV show.

I attempted a bit of research, to see if this sort of thing happens for real, but I must be a Google moron because I can't find anything on the topic either way.

Astute readers may wonder why I'm criticizing L&O for making false arrests and yet don't say anything when Jack Bauer shoots guys in the leg or cuts off their fingers to make them yield information in 24. Yeah, well, I don't have a problem with it on 24 because that show is too fantastic to worry about. L&O, on the other hand, has a certain realism to it that I must hold to another level of accountability.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Damn that Hunter S. Thompson.
He stole my idea.
You're right, David,
that Kline is likely engaging in over-reach when he's asking for the complete medical history, sexual practices, psychological profiles, etc. I can't see any real reason for obtaining them. I could engage in conjecture, I suppose, but I don't know Kline's actual line of thought.

And, you're correct that I erred in saying that being 15 and pregnant is proof enough that one was raped. I guess I'm engaging in a certain amount of prejudice, and assuming the male involved would be a year or two older. Not necessarily so, and in Kansas, I believe, two minors can have sex with each other without breaking the law.

Which raises a new question: If two 15 year olds have a sexual relationship, and one of them turns 16, and the other's 16th birthday is, say, two months away, would they have to suspend sexual activity during that two month period to avoid statutory rape charges, or would the existing sexual relationship grant immunity?

I have no idea if he's investigating every pregnant 15 year old. I'd guess not. But then, I never believed his true motive was prosecuting sex crims.
Also from BOTW today:
An ode to Secretary Rice's, er, sexiness that invokes Cake. Taranto misses the best line: "With finger nails that shine like justice". What a line. Somehow reminds me of The Tick, talking about the "rolled-up newspaper of justice" and all that.

My kids love that song.
Hmmmm...does my wife agree?
From Best of the Web:
You've got to figure the math and science departments of a prestigious school like Harvard are hotbeds of hot nerds, which means those ice cream socials will offer plenty of opportunities for women.
Ah, I missed the quote
about the abortion statistics being reported, but not the names. Still, does Kline need to have the entire medical history, including psychological profiles and such? Still looks like Kline's asking for more than is warranted.

Oh, and just because a 15-year-old gets pregnant doesn't mean she was raped. I would think it's just as likely (perhaps more likely) that the father is the same age as the mother, and to my knowledge consensual sex amongst minors is not a crime. I haven't seen statistics, but my guess is there are enough teenagers out there who got pregnant by having sex with another teenager that the mere presence of a pregnant teen is not enough probably cause for a crime.

As a matter of fact, if Kline were really that concerned about finding would-be child rapists, he'd be investigating every pregnant girl, not just the ones that have had an abortion. Is he?
Jesse has sent me an update.
Seems Phelps was only able to muster five supporters for this morning's outing. This was easily matched by students in a counter-protest. No fights, no fuss.

There's a big basketball game tonight, and the minstrel show is headed there. I wonder if any of the wilder fans will make for a more interesting time.
I just signed an online petition
supporting Lawrence H. Summers and his tenure at Harvard. Any Harvard alum with a post.harvard e-mail address needs to go here and sign.
David, I concede that Phil Kline
isn't investigating these records just so he can find pedophiles. He has anti-abortion motivations, which the articles I linked to make pretty clear.

However, the state of Kansas makes it illegal for abotion clinics to perform late term abortions, except for specific cases where the pregnancy would harm the mother. If such a law is on the books, isn't it within the perview of the AG's office to investigate when it has reason to believe such abortions are being committed?

Regarding your question about underage abortion (if no one reports them, how does Kline know), the NYTimes article I cited has the following quote:
State health records show that 78 Kansans younger than 15 received abortions in 2003 and that 491 abortions were performed past the 22nd week of pregnancy, though the late-term abortions were not broken down by the patients' ages.
Names may not be collected, but abortion doctors are collecting statistics on the ages of their patients.

This makes me wonder if they're in violation of laws requiring doctors to report abuse. In Kansas, being 15 and pregnant means you were raped. Did the doctors notify the police?
Bottom story of the day:
Microsoft has a weird function:
Try this:
  • Open Microsoft Word.
  • Type =rand(200,99)
  • Hit ENTER
What's the point of that, for just when you have to have a bunch of text and you don't care what it is?
You know, she does have the Neo thing going.
Maybe we have something in common, as I, too, am Neo.
Sheesh, how fraudulent can Ward Churchill be?
Apparently he passes other's artwork off as his own, too. Oh, and then attempts to beat up reporters when asked about it. Classy.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin has the details. And over at NRO, Jim Geraghty is saying, "I think Ward Churchill could accidentally and single-handedly launch a movement to end tenure at publicly-funded universities." Such power!
I would add the following thought
to this: It makes sense for an SSA representative to be involved in educating the public because he would be in the best position to know what is wrong with Social Security and how to fix it. If he happens to agree with Bush's plan, so be it. Lockhart can't ignore the problem or keep silent on it just because his opinion aligns with some political party's. That'd be silly.
It sounds to me like Phil Kline is simply fishing.
Such fishing shouldn't be allowed unless there's probable cause. Now, an abortion performed on a pre-sixteen-year-old does smell fishy, but why would Kline need the girl's "medical history, details of her sex life, birth control practices and psychological profile" (to quote the ABC story)? Over-reaching, I say.

Then there's this:
In their brief, the clinics' attorneys said a gag order prevents the clinics from even disclosing to patients that their records are being sought.
So the patients don't even know they're being investigated. Nice.

And then this:
Kline in 2003 began pushing to require health care professionals to report underage sexual activity. Kline contends state law requires such reporting, but a federal judge blocked him. The case has yet to be resolved.
So if no one is reporting such information to him, how does he know about them? Hmmm...
Get your hands off my pretzels!
If CPSI wants to limit salt intake, I'd be happy to take a hot-glue gun to their mouths and slap high-sodium foods from their hands. I could probably arrange some kind of intervention, too. But, damn it, the amount of salt in my diet is nobody's business but mine (well, maybe my wife).

Why is this so hard for food-nannies to understand. I've had enough nutrition classes in my life to know what does and does not constitute healthy eating. I don't need some federal regulator, or busy-body "public interest" group, forcing me to eat in some way. To quote Denis Leary from Demolition Man:
I'm the enemy, 'cause I like to think, I like to read. I'm into freedom of speech, and freedom of choice. I'm the kinda guy that likes to sit in a greasy spoon and wonder, "Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the jumbo rack of barbecue ribs with the side-order of gravy fries?" I want high cholesterol! I wanna eat bacon, and butter, and buckets of cheese, okay?! I wanna smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati in the non-smoking section! I wanna run naked through the street, with green Jell-O all over my body, reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because I suddenly may feel the need to, okay, pal?
Yeah! Except for, maybe, that Jello-O thing.
The Governor of Kansas
is no slouch. She knows what's what. She knows she's a Democratic governor in a Republican state. She can't come across as being too liberal, or she'll be out in 2006. So, Howard Dean is coming to Kansas, and Gov. Sebelius isn't coming out to meet him:
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat who scored a surprising win in 2002 but is a top GOP target next year, won't appear with Dean during his two-day visit.

An aide noted that Sebelius remained neutral in the DNC race and backed Kerry in the presidential primary.
I should add that I see that no one else is coming out, either:
Rep. Dennis Moore, the state's only congressional Democrat, is traveling out of the country and won't return until next week. A Moore spokeswoman declined to comment on Dean's trip.

Aides to other Kansas Democrats, including state Sen. Janice Lee and Kansas City Mayor Carol Marinovich, also declined to comment on Dean's visit.

Hat tip: The Corner.
Intrepid reader, Jesse,
provided me with a story this morning. It seems that a student at Seaman High School in Topeka, KS has been given a place on a national hockey team, and they'll be touring the world, representing the U.S. and playing other nation's youth hockey teams. Congratulations to him/her.

Well, one of the stops is Sweden. Ah, ha! See where I'm going? Fred Phelps and his cadre of killjoys are going to be at the high school protesting, because, as we've all been told repeated, Sweden is the den of Satan (Norway is his pantry).

Phelps appears to be claiming that this kid's involvement in youth hockey in Sweden condones homosexuality, and thus Seaman High School will burn in hell fire for eternity. Follow that crazy train.

UPDATE: I note with a good deal of amusement that Ake Green, the Swedish minister whose imprisonment started this fracas, has publically distanced himself from Fred Phelps.
David, as a point of clarification
on your post about Phil Kline, a news story on NBC Action News last night said he was seeking the records for patients who had abortions before age 16. The age of consent in Kansas is 16, meaning he was looking for the records of teens who had obviously had sex before they could legally consent to it. In other words, he's looking for statutory rapists and others who have sexually assaulted children.

ABC News has more.

From what I understand, doctors are already required to notify authorities when they believe that children are being abused. If children under the age of 16 are having sex, Kansas law defines that activity as de jure abuse, even if the child consents.

Now, one could very successfully argue that Kline is using these laws to intimidate abortion providers in the state of Kansas, but, given the laws, I'm not sure the providers will have much recourse.

UPDATE: I see that the NYTimes has picked up the story.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

My mother finds Kansas Attorney General Phil Kline scary.
Perhaps this is one reason why.
Speaking of diversity training,
which led me to think of racial issues, Jay Nordlinger had this to say today:
Do you look forward, as I do, to the day when having a caucus based on race — e.g., the black caucus — will be seen more universally as gross? I mean, of all things to caucus around, politically: skin color!
Good point. Why must all people of any given skin color necessarily share political goals? Talk about racist!
A co-worker and I were conversing
about diversity training this morning (I used to work for a Fortune 50 company, hence my title), and I had a thought: Isn't diversity training counter-productive? Now, bear with me for a second while I flesh this out. The stuff taught is basic common sense -- don't make racist, sexist, homophobic, size-ist, classist, age-ist, anti-religious, bigoted remarks. Don't sexually harass people.

Diversity training boils down to one basic idea: Don't be a clod.

One of the training videos I had to watch when I started at the F50 company was one where a man was sitting across from the bank loan officer, talking about the house he and his partner, Chris, were going to buy. The conversation was affable, and then Chris came in. Chris was a man, and the loan officer learned for the first time that his clients were a gay couple. Chris extended his hand, and the loan officer said something like, "No need to be formal," and didn't shake his hand. The loan officer found a reason not to give them a loan, and that was that.

Now, what was the point of this video? If you're a raging homophobe, and it's so ingrained that it would prevent you from doing business with a gay couple, is watching a brief video enough to stop you from being homophobic? My guess is that it isn't. What it does let you know is that the company doesn't stand for discriminatory behavior, but this should be obvious. So, the homophobe would learn to effectively conceal his homophobia. He'd learn that the loan officer's main problem was that he was obvious about his dislike for the couple. He should have been cordial and nice and polite and pleasant, and then found a plausible reason to deny them the loan.

So, here's the question: If diversity training teaches your idiot-bigot employees to keep their prejudices quiet, isn't it counter-productive? I mean, no Fortune 50 company wants to be targeted by the media or government for being racist. Remember what happened to Texaco over an alleged use of the N-word? Even after it turned out that the incident never happened, the company still paid for it. It's in the best interest of companies to get rid of their bigoted employees.

Therefore, I would think that being able to easily identify your bigoted employees would be a good thing -- it makes it easier to weed them out. If you have an employee that constantly refers to minority groups with racist bile, he's easily identified and fired. If he knows to keep it quiet, and expresses his prejudice through almost imperceptible business maneuvers, that's bad. The bigotry is still there, it's just much harder to identify.
I don't know.
This math puzzle was referenced in the Corner today, and I read the name of the puzzle and basically figured it out. One roll of the dice, and I knew what was going on. The website said some math students struggled with it for a semester or more.

That doesn't give me much confidence in upcoming mathematicians.
This article makes me think
of a discussion I saw on the Corner recently regarding the Libertarian Party. Because the LP exists, it's drained much of the libertarian element from both the Democratic and Republican parties, thereby keeping their ideas from really being debated in the two major parties, and all but guaranteeing that libertarianism will be sidelined for a long time to come.

Now comes a call from a respected professor of law for a separate black political party. Drain the blacks from the Democratic Party (something tells me black conservatives wouldn't be welcome, so Republicans would have little to fear), and you render the Democrats largely impotent, sidelining liberal blacks, and making the Republicans all but transcendant. If liberal blacks are already fuming at Republican policies, would crippling the Democratic Party really be the answer?
If Ahmed Omar Abu Ali
is granted bail, I'm going to be stupefied. He has many, many international contacts and Jordanian citizenship. He could conceiveably disappear very quickly upon release. And, money wouldn't be an issue. Given his Saudi connections, any bail would be easily paid.
I really do have to wonder
what the Chinese said to North Korea to get this about face. Given North Korean instransigence in past negotiations (love those Korean War peace talks), and given China's regional strength and their occaisional dip into saber-rattling, one wonders if they were pretty direct with their Korean couter-parts. Sort of like, "Listen, Kim, you either rejoin talks or we're going to sink the Korean peninsula."

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

David, I don't know if you've finished
Andrew Napolitano's Constitutional Chaos, but Andrew McCarthy takes him to task in National Review today for his "embarrassingly ill-informed op-ed" in the NYTimes.

McCarthy also links to an article by Ramesh Ponnuru criticizing Napolitano's thoughts on the Patriot Act.
I'm sure Andrew Sullivan will be apoplectic.
The Pope, in an upcoming book, writes:
It is legitimate and necessary to ask oneself if this is not perhaps part of a new ideology of evil, perhaps more insidious and hidden, which attempts to pit human rights against the family and against man.
I know zip about the band, Korn,
but I see that their guitarist has converted and left the band.
Little Green Footballs
has more on the man arrested for plotting to kill President Bush. Seems he was the valedictorian of his school in Virginia (this is widely reported). What isn't so widely reported is that his school was a madrassa funded by the Saudis.
In a previous post,
I mentioned Harvard's finals clubs, and their lack of offical standing at the University. Today's The Crimson has one of the dumbest op-eds ever on the subject. The last two paragraphs are indicative of the overall banality:
Furthermore, it is important that first-year students are taught about these organizations through official channels. Beyond becoming aware of the mere existence of these organizations at Harvard, more information needs to be transmitted about them from the minute students set foot on campus. It is foolish to deny that these clubs, and their dangers, exist. First-year students need to be aware of the potential pitfalls in joining same-sex organizations and in attending parties thrown by the organizations. It is important that they do not continue to remain shrouded in mystery and secrecy, and thus it is imperative that the dialogue continues.

We look to the future with hope.
I look to the future with hope, too, but I hope that none of the editors behind this drivel ever work in journalism or in public policy.
How sad and empty does your life
have to be to find this entertaining?
Joe, your beloved Simpsons
is stirring up trouble:
The executive producer of "The Simpsons," Al Jean, says the show is not endorsing same-sex marriage. He points out that not all of the characters in the show support the legalization — and that that many of those who do just hope it will bring in tourist dollars.

In the episode, the town creates a tourism advertisement with the lines: "Gay-o, it's OK-o/Tie the knot and spend your dough/Gay-o, come and stay-o/Visit our Web site for further info.
You know, much of Lindsborg's economy is based on tourism. If that should falter...

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Joe, that is awful.
I think it's worth quoting from it:
"He killed his own daughter? There wasn't an investigation?"

"As far as the police were concerned, she died in her sleep. There was no evidence of violence. The matter was closed. Police don't get involved in matters of honor. Most of the time, the police aren't even called. The body is just taken out to the desert and buried. No one knows how many women are buried out there. When you are buried in the desert no one will ever find you. You just disappear. Happens all the time," Ali said, pouring himself another drink.

Happens all the time.
Heartwrenching.
Remember this story whenever you hear some leftist compare the U.S. to an Arab government, or Republicans to some Islamic group.
A U.S. citizen
has been charged with plotting to assassinate President Bush.
A former Virginia high school valedictorian who had been detained in Saudi Arabia as a suspected terrorist was charged Tuesday with conspiring to assassinate President Bush and with supporting the Al Qaeda terrorist network.

Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, 23, a U.S. citizen, made an initial appearance Tuesday in U.S. District Court but did not enter a plea. He claimed that he was tortured while detained in Saudi Arabia since June of 2003 and offered through his lawyer to show the judge his scars.
Now, I don't for a second believe the torture charge. It's been widely reported that al-Qaeda detainees, once released, are instructed to find media outlets and claim they were tortured or abused by U.S. guards.

However, if his involvement is true, one wonders how wide the conspiracy is. Is Abu Ali part of a small cell, or is he part of a large network? The story indicates that he was not a lone-gunmen -- others knew and blessed his efforts. I wonder how much support they lent, and if they'll soon be rounded up.
More overrought hand-wringing
over at The Crimson on the Lawrence Summers boondoggle. The best line from Michael Gould-Wartofsky is the opener:
So you say you want a resolution. You say you want the protection of academic speech. You say you want an open university. In the same breath, you decry the fact that your professors have the nerve to publicly debate the president of Harvard. You hope to hush the voices of women who assert they’ve been excluded at this place. And you would hate to see a community of intelligent people actually end up with a say in how things are done around here.
Yeah, right. The freedom of speech of Harvard professors is really at stake. Ptttthhhhhhhhhh. Summers has fallen on his sword so many times it's ridiculous, and I've yet to see any kind of call for the disgruntled among Harvard's faculty to shut up. If Gould-Wartofsky really sees people on campus screaming for the faculty to shut the hell up, then he needs to lay off whatever he's taking.

While I was on campus, there was a continuous call for more diversity. It was a the perennial hot-point of the left-of-center groups on campus. But what I always saw was that the diversity being called for was the shallowest kind: Skin color and gender. They didn't care one wit about getting conservatives and libertarians into the faculty. No, no, no. Ideologically, they all wanted good, died-in-the-wool liberals and radicals. Some diversity.

Gould-Wartofsky seems to be calling for the same thing, in a way. For example:
We should stand for a Harvard that welcomes academic inquiry from a Faculty far more representative of American society.
What do you think he has in mind? A faculty more representative of American society would be mostly white and Christian. Plus, given the results of the last Presidential election, far more conservative or right-leaning moderate. Do you think that's what he has in mind?
For the first time in history,
the number of Africans entering this country voluntarily has exceeded the number brought in via the slave trade. An interesting observation:
The influx has other potential implications, from recalibrating the largely monolithic way white America views blacks to raising concerns that American-born blacks will again be left behind.

"Historically, every immigrant group has jumped over American-born blacks," said Eric Foner, the Columbia University historian. "The final irony would be if African immigrants did, too."
And it would be hard to cry racism if African-born blacks out-strip American-born blacks.

One wonders about the implications for affirmative action and similar programs designed to redress the legacy of slavery. Will government programs need to differentiate between blacks who are descendants of slaves and those who are not? If not, why?
Suicide by cop?
But if this were a horror movie, he's still out there. I wonder if he was wearing a mask.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Any bets on which state falls first, Lebanon or Iran?
The demand for democracy is spreading.
In a previous post,
I linked to a story about the Mexican government publishing a safety booklet for Mexicans looking to illegally cross into the U.S. Now, a Mexican state, Yucatan, has gotten into the act with a publication called The Guide for the Yucatecan Migrant. There's even an accompanying DVD.

One of the interesting observations (though I know this has been made in many other places) is that the Mexican government may be encouraging illegal immigration. Money sent to Mexico from residents (legal or otherwise) in the U.S. accounts for $16.6 billion dollars. That's big business.
Someone at The Crimson
actually has some sense. Best line, speaking about the phantom repression of the faculty:
Yet the holder of an endowed chair leads a tenuous life and must often take cover behind a shield of anonymity. The unknown professor who took Summers’ apologies to be disingenuous, the "senior faculty member" who speculated on his future—these endangered souls chose a safer path than their colleagues, who went on-the-record for The Crimson and will presumably be shot at sunrise.
Ah, the pseudo-intellectualism
of college life. I love this exchange:
"The real reason why there’s less female math and science professors is because of the long hours involved," [Freshman Arvind H. Vaz] said to scattered laughter.

"Someone has to make the compromises in most families, someone has to stay home with the kids, and usually it’s the woman, it’s the female, it’s the wife."

HPU Director of Outreach Kathryn C. Gluckman ’07 countered his claim, saying, "The idea that women choose to be in the home, I think that’s a social construction."
First, I love the name "Arvind." It's great. Reminds me of the show "Head of the Class."

Second, yes, women staying home to raise their children is largely a social construction. She says that like that's profound or insightful, she says it like it some how makes Vaz's point go away.
Isn't it fun when some
ivory-towered theorist, spouting off about some grand Communist scheme, gets smacked by someone who's actually lived through it?
While I didn't actually see last night's
Simpsons episode, I had heard there was going to be an episode where some character or another would come out of the closet and arrange for a same-sex union. I suspected it would be Patty, Marge's older, spinster sister. I was right.
The creator of "gonzo journalism,"
Hunter S. Thompson, has committed suicide.
Ouch.
Can you imagine being the utility workers who had to search for it? Can you put that on a resume? In any case, they probably deserve a raise or performance bonus.
Great, David, great.
The first look our readers (yeah, right) get of you is this one being all dapper and all, but their first impresion of me is that I look psychotic.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Your hosts:



Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Sorry to have been gone so long,
but my family and I have been on a cruise for the past week. Just got back last night. We took the seven-night Western Carribean cruise offered by Royal Carribean, on the Voyager of the Seas. I took a shot of the boat as we returned to it from the Grand Caymans:



The Caymans offered the "Swim with the Stingrays" exursion which Royal Carribean has featured on some of their commercials. I was expecting there to be some pool near the main drag that had all the stingrays, but as it turns out, they load you in a boat and take a 45-minute journey to a sandbar where the stingrays like to hang out. It was kind of odd standing in the middle of the ocean like that, but there you go. As you can see, we weren't the only boatload of people around:



Here's a shot of Labadee, which is an island resort and the first stop, as taken from our cabin:



You are expected to dress nicely for every dinner, but they have two "formal nights" where you should look your best. A lot of men wore tuxedos, but I didn't go that far. My wife looked radiant though:



We had a great time. My kids would have been happier if salt water wasn't so, well, salty, but so it goes.