Do you want to write for Ink 19?

Truth To Power

the strong do as they wish, and the weak suffer as they must

Archive for February, 2009

Free to good home: Stealth ship

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Yours for free: The James Bond Stealth ship U.S. Navy can’t even give away

It looks like a cross between a Stealth fighter and a Batmobile and can appear out of nowhere on the open seas. Once seen as the future of naval warfare, the top secret ‘Sea Shadow’ is now being given away by the US Navy. The vessel, which is able to evade radar detection due to its angular shape, cost over £110million to develop. But it is now destined for the scrap heap unless someone takes it off the Navy.

They are willing to give away the vessel for free, but interested parties must also accept a submersible dry dock the size of a football pitch as part of the package. Known as the Hughes Mining Barge, it was developed to house the stealth ship and keep it hidden from spy satellites. It also acts as a dry dock and was built to raise a sunken Soviet submarine 35 years ago. The US Navy has been trying to give away the Sea Shadow since 2006 after Pentagon chiefs said they no longer had any use for it.

Hell, I’ll take it. Why not, I paid for it!

Joe the Plumber a big hit…not.

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Joe the Author, Plumbing New Lows in Interest

Joe the Plumber (no longer a plumber; first name actually Samuel) popped into our town yesterday evening to sell his new book and to remind people that he’s still a plain and simple guy. Mission accomplished, on at least one of his missions.

About 11 people wandered into the rows of seats set up hopefully in the basement of a downtown Border’s bookstore to hear Joe speak. Joe addressed them from behind a lectern and with a microphone, but that seemed unnecessarily formal.

Wurzelbacher was scheduled to speak and sign books for three hours, but the Joe Show was over in 55 minutes. Total copies of “Joe the Plumber” sold: five.

Maybe this nation isn’t as doomed as I feared.

Justice dept: No more medical marijuana raids

Friday, February 27th, 2009

One step closer to sanity:

Justice Department will stop medical marijuana raids, Attorney General says

In a little-noticed remark Wednesday, Obama Attorney General Eric Holder said that the Justice Department will no longer raid medical marijuana dispensaries established under state laws but technically prohibited by the federal government.

Court quotes Lennon to make a really poor point

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Court rules for Utah city in religious marker case

WASHINGTON – Governments that receive donations of Ten Commandments displays and other monuments for public parks are not compelled to take everything they are offered, a unanimous Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

The court said that a small religious group, the Summum, cannot force Pleasant Grove City, Utah, to place its granite marker in a park that has been home to a Ten Commandments monument for 38 years.

Officials do not violate free speech rights when they reject requests to display monuments, Justice Samuel Alito said in his opinion for the court.

“It is hard to imagine how a public park could be opened up for the installation of permanent monuments by every person or group wishing to engage in that form of expression,” Alito said.

The court reversed a ruling of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver that the city’s decision violated the Summum’s rights. The Salt Lake City-based group argued that a city can’t allow some private donations of displays in its public park and reject others.

Alito distinguished the Summum’s case from efforts to prevent people from speaking in public parks, which ordinarily would violate the First Amendment’s free speech guarantee.

The Ten Commandments marker, erected by the Fraternal Order of Eagles, is one of 15 permanent displays in the park.

Alito said that even long-winded speakers eventually conclude their remarks and people distributing leaflets at some point grow tired and go home, but monuments endure.

In addition, Alito said, private parties do not own the monuments that governments accept for display; the governments become the owners.

He acknowledged that government ownership of monuments cannot be “used (as) a subterfuge for favoring certain private speakers over others based on viewpoint.”

But he said monuments often convey multiple messages, and cited the Greco-Roman mosaic of the word “imagine” that was donated to New York’s Central Park in memory of the Beatles’ John Lennon.

Some people may “imagine” the music Lennon would have written if he had not been shot to death near the park, he said. Others may think about the words of Lennon’s song of the same name that imagine “a world without religion, countries, possessions, greed or hunger,” Alito said in an opinion that also included the song’s lyrics.

The state favored one religious viewpoint over another by placing the Ten Commandments in a public park, maintained by taxes, while not allowing the Summum monument. That is exactly why we have the seperation of church and state in this country. Exactly why.

“It is hard to imagine how a public park could be opened up for the installation of permanent monuments by every person or group wishing to engage in that form of expression,” Alito said.

Again, exactly why we prohibit the state from erecting or displaying the Ten Commandments…or quotations from the Koran. It seems that today is filled with folks just not understanding the plain law of the land. The court stated the entire concept rather clearly in 1947’s Everson v. Board of Education:

The “establishment of religion” clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the federal government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another…No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion.

Seriously, how could that be any clearer? You want to display a rock with your laws on it, put it in your front yard. But if you put it in a public park, and expect my taxes to pay for the upkeep of the monument or the land, then you are breaking the law.

From our cold dead hands: Obama wants assault weapons ban

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Obama to Seek New Assault Weapons Ban

The Obama administration will seek to reinstate the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 during the Bush administration, Attorney General Eric Holder said today.

Wednesday Attorney General Eric Holder said that the Obama administration will seek to reinstitute the assault weapons ban which expired in 2004 during the Bush administration.
“As President Obama indicated during the campaign, there are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons,” Holder told reporters.

“I think closing the gun show loophole, the banning of cop-killer bullets and I also think that making the assault weapons ban permanent, would be something that would be permitted under Heller,” Holder said, referring to the Supreme Court ruling in Washington, D.C. v. Heller, which asserted the Second Amendment as an individual’s right to own a weapon.

Ah yes, the Second Amendment to the Constitution:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

“Shall not be infringed”.

That sounds rather definitive to me. Doesn’t our president have a few more pressing issues than guns that hold more than 10 rounds of ammo?

RIP Philip Jose Farmer

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Philip Jose Farmer, science-fiction writer, dies at 91

(CNN) — Author Philip Jose Farmer died in his sleep Wednesday, according to a message on his Web site.

Farmer was known for his science-fiction and fantasy novels and short stories. He was 91.

The Peoria, Indiana, native’s most popular work was his “Riverworld” series, written in the 1970s.

Joe Lansdale, a critic, writer and friend of Farmer’s, credited Farmer with changing the face of science fiction.

“I just can’t begin to tell you how important he is to the field as well as other fields,” Lansdale said.

Critics said Farmer was the first author to address adult sexual themes in science-fiction novels.

Jonathan Strahan, an editor and critic for Locus magazine, said Farmer treated sex seriously, not in a juvenile manner or for cheap thrills.

“It wasn’t pornography and it wasn’t just about the sex of it,” Strahan said. “It was about the sexuality of people in an interesting and intelligent way.”

His influence over the science-fiction community is becoming more apparent over time, critics said.

One of the most well-known science-fiction novels to be influenced by Farmer was “Stranger in a Strange Land” by Robert Heinlein.

Torture commission “to be big”

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

From the “I’ll believe when I see it” department:

Senate will advance torture commission

Feb. 24, 2009 | WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to move forward with a commission to investigate torture during the Bush administration. Committee Chairman Pat Leahy, D-Vt., told Salon Tuesday that his panel would soon announce a hearing to study various commission plans. His staff said the announcement could come as early as Wednesday.

While Michigan Democrat Rep. John Conyers and North Carolina Republican Rep. Walter Jones drafted a bill to create a commission to review abuse of war powers during the Bush administration, Leahy’s Senate commission would represent the first concrete steps toward a broad review of U.S. torture since 9/11.

Spearheading Senate efforts to establish a torture commission is Rhode Island Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse. As a member of both the Judiciary Committee and the Intelligence Committee, Whitehouse is privy to information about interrogations he can’t yet share. Still, regarding a potential torture commission, he told Salon, “I am convinced it is going to happen.” In fact, his fervor on the issue was palpable. When asked if there is a lot the public still does not know about these issues during the Bush administration, his eyes grew large and he nodded slowly. “Stay on this,” he said. “This is going to be big.”

Atlanta cops get slap on wrist for murder, conspiracy

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Ex-Atlanta cops get prison for drug raid killing
Judge says police department quotas put excess pressure on officers

A federal judge who sent three fallen cops to prison for a notorious drug raid that left an elderly woman dead said Tuesday that Atlanta Police Department performance quotas unduly influenced the officers’ behavior.

“It is my fervent hope the Atlanta Police Department will take to heart what has happened here,” U.S. District Judge Julie Carnes said. At the close of an emotional two-day hearing, Carnes sentenced former officers Gregg Junnier, Jason R. Smith and Arthur Bruce Tesler to between 5 and 10 years in prison.

Carnes imposed the most severe sentence — 10 years — on Smith, 36, who obtained the illegal, no-knock search warrant allowing officers to batter down 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston’s door.

A terrified Johnston, thinking she was victimized by a home invasion, fired a warning shot through the door. Narcotics officers responded with a hail of gunfire, killing her.

Carnes sentenced Junnier, 42, to 6 years in prison. Junnier, the most experienced officer, was the first to cross the “blue line” — the unspoken code of silence among police — and divulge to the FBI what really happened at Neal Street and how the officers concocted a sophisticated coverup.

What worthless, worthless human beings. First, you’re a drug cop. That alone is shameful, spending your life enforcing laws that tell adults what they can and cannot do to themselves. Not to mention the millions of dollars your drug squad hoovers out of our pockets each year. Then, you whine about quota pressure as an excuse for just making up evidence- evidence you used to murder a 92 year old woman. Its a pathetic way to earn a living, and may you never walk our streets as free men again. Pathetic.

What liberal media?

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Study: Network news coverage favored Republicans from 1992-2004.

It’s a truism among conservatives that the media has a liberal bias, but a study of campaign coverage released by Indiana University has found that ABC, CBS, and NBC favored Republicans in each of the presidential elections from 1992 through 2004. The study, which is the “first major research project analyzing the relatively unexplored territory of visual coverage in presidential elections,” found that “production decisions” such as editing techniques, camera angles and shot lengths were more favorable to Republicans. The study also looked at “who is given the last say in a piece,” finding that “GOP candidates were favored in terms of having the last say in all but the 2004 election.”

Nice to see something so readily apparent confirmed by study.

Domestic terrorist James Adkisson sentenced to life

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

“Know This If Nothing Else: This Was A Hate Crime”

Progressives around the country can breathe a little easier today: James Adkisson has been sentenced to life behind bars for the deaths of Greg McKendry and Linda Kraeger, the Unitarian Universalist martyrs who died during his assault on their church in Knoxville, TN last July.

Many of us intuited at the time that Adkisson’s rampage was exactly the kind of rancid fruit that would inevitably take root in an American countryside thickly composted with two decades of hate radio bullshit, freshly turned and watered with growing middle-class frustration over the failing economy. That suspicion that was verified in the days that followed, when police searched Adkisson’s apartment and found it filled with books and newsletters penned by Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and other right-wing hate talkers.

But yesterday, Adkisson told us himself — in his own words — just how central right-wing eliminationism was in driving him to his shooting spree. Shortly after he was sentenced yesterday, he released a four-page handwritten “manifesto” — which he’d intended to be his suicide note — to the Knoxville News. In it, he unleashes the full measure of his hatred for liberals — and encourages other would-be right-wing warriors to take up arms and follow him into battle.

Some choice excerpts:

“Know this if nothing else: This was a hate crime. I hate the damn left-wing liberals. There is a vast left-wing conspiracy in this country & these liberals are working together to attack every decent & honorable institution in the nation, trying to turn this country into a communist state. Shame on them….

“This was a symbolic killing. Who I wanted to kill was every Democrat in the Senate & House, the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg’s book. I’d like to kill everyone in the mainstream media. But I know those people were inaccessible to me. I couldn’t get to the generals & high ranking officers of the Marxist movement so I went after the foot soldiers, the chickenshit liberals that vote in these traitorous people. Someone had to get the ball rolling. I volunteered. I hope others do the same. It’s the only way we can rid America of this cancerous pestilence.”

“I thought I’d do something good for this Country Kill Democrats til the cops kill me….Liberals are a pest like termites. Millions of them Each little bite contributes to the downfall of this great nation. The only way we can rid ourselves of this evil is to kill them in the streets. Kill them where they gather. I’d like to encourage other like minded people to do what I’ve done. If life aint worth living anymore don’t just kill yourself. do something for your Country before you go. Go Kill Liberals.

Proud of yourselves, Rush? Sean? O’Reilly? Because I’m betting this guy didn’t have Air America playing on the way to the church the day he decided to commit partisan murder. I’ve posted nearly 3000 items on this blog, a solid majority of them filled with outright loathing for the GOP and its assorted warmongering, treasonous sacs of pond scum, and never once did I advocate violence nor do I think anyone read what I wrote and shot anybody*. But this a-hole got all wound up listening to 24/7 extremist hate speech, drove to a church and shot people because they voted differently than he did. Sure, he is crazy…but the GOP and its serfs in the media actively court these lunatics. Image if the reverse had occurred- what if somebody shot up worshipers in one of those mega mall arena churches in Texas, and left behind a rant quoting Al Franken or Michael Moore? Fox News would speak of nothing else but “savage, crazed liburuls!” for a year. But this Adkisson guy? He’ll be noted in passing at best, and certainly nothing will be mentioned of his fervent devotion to the conservative cause.

*Now, it is true that I did call for our former president and his VP to be hung from the neck till dead. But that’s just the stated punishment for treason, not some sort of personal vendetta.