January 2009 Archives

On Up Front today, the new Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Randy Dorn, was asked whether the level of funding proposed was unconstitutional. He responded (starts at 9:18 into the video) that the State Constitution says "the paramount duty is to fund education."

That's not, of course, what the Constitution says. Rather, it reads, "It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders. ..." It says nothing specific about funding, nor implies that any level of funding is preferable to another.

There's a huge difference between the two. You can, conceivably, provide the best instruction possible without any money at all. Dorn went on to bemoan his claim that Washington State is ranked low nationally in per-pupil spending, which is, to me, actually a very good thing.

It's just more evidence that many people do not distinguish between good education, and expensive education. And that is obvious nonsense. Children today have a worse public education than our parents did, and it costs a lot more to get it.

I am, of course, not suggesting there's necessarily an inverse relationship; I am only stating as obvious truth that there is no significant relationship between how good an education is, and how much you spend on it. slashdot.org

Obama's Address and Why It Sucked

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Obama wants us to put aside our "petty grievances." We should not have "conflict" or "discord" or "recriminations."

Apparently we're all supposed to agree with Obama. If we believe, due to "worn-out dogmas," that our government is too big (and therefore, necessarily, takes away too much of our liberty), then we are focusing on "childish things."

He explicitly stated we should not be asking whether a government program violates the Constitution: if a program "works" (by his standard), we should do it, the Constitution be damned:

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them -- that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works -- whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward.

Yet most small-government advocates base their views in large part on the Constitution, so according to President Obama, he intends to move forward, regardless of what the Constitution says. (Note that he said this mere moments after vowing to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.")

To President Obama, I say: Screw You. (Oh yes, I did!) Whether government takes away liberty is far more important to me than whether by your standards it "works."

I will not stop fighting for liberty just because you try to make my fight into something dirty and un-patriotic. You will not decide for me what is important, what is patriotic, what is worth fighting for, what is good and just and right and meaningful.

Incredibly, Obama uttered one of the most Orwellian phrases I've ever heard from any politician: "To those who cling to power through ... the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist." Obama is telling people to not dissent while at the same time attacking people who are "silencing dissent."

Obama said at the beginning of his address, "... We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebearers, and true to our founding documents." If he cares so much about our forebears and founding documents, he would do well to read Federalist 10:

As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves. The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government.

This nation was founded on the notion that we will not agree. The entire republic is set up to deal with this fact of life.

It is not President Obama's job to tell me what to think. It is his job to protect my right to think it, to express it, and to act on it. Of course, this wouldn't be a problem is he actually followed his oath to uphold the Constitution, and didn't propose violating it in the first place.

Liberty, Liberty, Liberty. This is what matters. This is why the Constitution exists, and why it must be followed. And Obama, like Bush before him in various ways, are saying liberty and the Constitution don't matter.

I won't agree, and President Obama can bite me for saying I should agree. slashdot.org

Now Playing: Petra - Grave Robber

Civil Liberties to be Lost

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Yesterday I celebrated "Civil Liberties Day." I consider this a preferable alternative to a day devoted to Martin Luther King, Jr.

One of the side effects of this change is that while many people note that the first black President is inaugurated the day after MLK Jr. Day, I get to note that one of the most anti-liberty Presidents is inaugurated the day after Civil Liberties Day.

It's well-understood that Obama is at least as hostile to our Tenth Amendment liberties as any President before him. He also has declared himself, time and again, completely hostile toward the Second Amendment (despite his dishonest rhetorical claims that he believes gun ownership is an "individual right").

So, now that we are about to have this new President, I want to start keeping a list of liberties he or his Congress is trying to take from us. Please restrict your answers to those that Obama or Biden or a prominent member of Congress has specifically advocated, within the last year, such as the Obama-Biden promise to bring back the Assault Weapons Ban. And provide a reliable source.

I think this will be quite instructive, and more than a bit depressing. I can only hope Obama doesn't fulfill many of his promises, for whatever reason. He's already signalled he is backing off many of his radical proposals, such as to increase taxes and immediately close Gitmo and pull out of Iraq. So, we don't know what will happen. We only can know what has been proposed and what has happened. slashdot.org

Happy Civil Liberties Day

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I will celebrate today by not answering any potentially incriminating questions and refusing to quarter troops in my home.

In some states, "Martin Luther King, Jr. Day" is called "Civil Rights Day." Unfortunately, "Civil Rights" has become synonymous to many people with the struggles of ethnic, religious, or gender minorities, instead of focusing on the rights of all people. So, I call it "Civil Liberties Day," to emphasize all civil liberties, and all people, to be as inclusive and fully American as possible. Carry a gun and say obnoxious things with pride.

I also refer to "Columbus Day" as "Explorers Day," for similar reasons. The best reason to honor Columbus is not because he found America in particular, or because he was a great man, but because he was an explorer. I see no reason to honor Columbus any more than Aldrin and Armstrong or Lewis and Clark.

I dislike honoring individuals with holidays. The only other federal holiday is "Washington's Birthday," and I similarly call that, as many people do, "Presidents Day." slashdot.org

LCE064 Try to Get the Best of You

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An original song I recorded tonight. My voice is kinda thrashed but I wanted to record it anyway.

This is the Longest Concert Evar, starring Pudge. Send requests to concertrequest@pudge.net, or post them here.

No New States?

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It's been almost 50 years since we've had a new state.

We are, as of a few years ago, in the longest period of time without a new state entering the Union. From Arizona's entrance in 1912 to Alaska's in 1959 was just under 47 years. The last state to enter was Hawaii, also in 1959.

Will we ever have a new state? slashdot.org

Recap on History of Budget

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The Democrats are engaging, once again, in economic revisionism. They want us to believe that the budget surplus was increasing when Bush took office, and that the increasing deficits are his fault.

In fact, the surplus was decreasing when Bush took office in 2001. The Fiscal Year 2000 budget had a surplus of $236 billion. That was the high water mark. The FY 2001 budget, passed in 2000 -- before Bush took office -- had a surplus of only $128 billion. The first budget passed when Bush was President, FY 2002, was pushed into deficit primarily by the recession (which he inherited, as Obama is inheriting a recession) and the cost of 9/11.

Now, the deficit did balloon significantly under Bush. It went up to over $400 billion. He and the Republicans spent way too much. But in Bush's second term, it was reigned in significantly, down to $162 billion for FY 2007, the last budget from a Republican Congress. The very first budget from the Democrats, FY 2008, more than doubled the deficit, to over $400 billion.

And now the projected deficit is triple that, to $1.2 trillion. Some think it will be as much as $1.6 trillion or more. This is ten times the last Republican budget deficit, and four times the current deficit.

I am not blaming the Democrats specifically. I am, rather, saying simply two things: first, that the surplus was decreasing when Bush took office; and second, that the President is not primarily responsible for the budget anyway: the Congress is. The Republican Congress was to blame for massive deficits in Bush's first term, and the Democrats are to blame for the massive deficit of FY 2008, and for much of the massive deficits to follow.

Oh, and no, Bush and the Republicans are not primarily responsible for the current recession, either, but that's another story. slashdot.org

Roland Burris is Unimpressive

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"Unimpressive" is a polite word. From NewsHour:

ROLAND BURRIS: Take for instance, Ray, if the bill that he has signed as the governor. He's exercising his constitutional responsibilities and authority. One other example is with my good friend, President Clinton, was also impeached. He was still carrying on the duties and responsibility of the presidency. ...

RAY SUAREZ: But, again, Mr. Burris, the very complaint made against Gov. Blagojevich by the U.S. attorney for northern Illinois involves the appointment for this seat. Does that change the legal landscape at all for you?

ROLAND BURRIS: Absolutely not. It has nothing to do with it. The governor -- let me ask you this. Is he still the governor?

RAY SUAREZ: Well, I guess -- not that it's a legal opinion for me, but he appears to be very much the governor at this point, yes.

Right. The fact that there's a criminal complaint against the governor for trying to sell the appointment he gave to me has nothing to do with the appointment he gave to me. After all, he is the governor! Consider this: Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk. But Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. Now think about it; that does not make sense!


You can get the details here (graphic pictures attached). According to the web site of Minutemen American Defense (a group affiliated with the Minuteman Project), Shawna Forde, MAD's Director, was beaten and raped in her Everett home on December 29. Just one week earlier, her husband was shot three times, also at their home.

The MAD web site seems to imply the attacks might have something to do with her work investigating drug cartel operations. So far there's no official word on where the investigations might be headed. The Everett Police have released a sketch of the shooting suspect. slashdot.org

<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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