Saturday, June 28, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
The Rocky applauds the Supreme Court's ruling in D.C. v. Heller, where the Court clarified that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms, unfettered by any connection to a militia.
The Rocky does a far better job than the Post in explaining the decision, and did not feel the need to quote a meaningless poll in its editorial.
Some "scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado in Boulder" think that it is even money that the North Pole will be completely devoid of ice in just a few months.
Scanlon notes that "[a]n ice-free North Pole, even for a day or a week, has never happened in recorded history."
He does not note that such history has been recorded for only about 100 years - less than a blink in the history of the planet.
The Post applauds the United States Supreme Court's decision in D.C. v. Heller, affirming the individual's right to bear arms under the Second Amendment.
I applaud it as well, but find it amusing that the Post thinks it noteworthy that "Americans agreed with the decision by a majority of better than 2-to-1, according to a Harris poll."
Whether or not people agree with it is irrelevant. How many of those polled read the opinion? I'll betcha the number is close to zero. The Supreme Court is supposed to be above political pressure. That's why federal judges and justices have a lifetime appointment. They do not take polls to ascertain what decision they should make.
Poll taking is left up to the legislative and executive branches.
The Second Amendment states
"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."
This is probably one of the most poorly written passages in the Constitution. The first half of it gives anti-gun crusaders their ammunition. The first half is also completely unnecessary and should have been left out by the drafters some 200 years ago.
But it was not.
So the Supreme Court had to spend 60 plus pages explaining the first half and how it affects the second half. They concluded that the right to bear arms is an individual right and not a collective one.
This story presents an opportunity to discuss the difference between obtaining a judgment and collecting on a judgment.
Let us assume the judge in this case orders Terry Lynn Barton, the woman convicted of starting a huge forest fire in 2002, to pay the $44 million in restitution the prosecutor is requesting.
Such a restitution order would be the civil equivalent of obtaining a judgment. It is a court order to pay someone money.
Once the judgment is obtained, the next step is collecting on the judgment.
What are the odds that Barton would ever be able to pay off the judgment? We do not currently have the technology to measure such a small percentage.
Let's round down and call it a zero percent chance.
So why seek such a huge number? It is akin to sentencing someone to 500 years in prison. You want to make darn sure the person has to spend the rest of her life paying for her crime.
Also according to the article, "As part of her 15-year probation, Barton must perform community service in either Teller, Jefferson, Park or Douglas counties, where the fire took place."
If they really wanted her to pay off the restitution they should make her get a paying job, or do work for the victims of the fire.
Pankratz also notes that "Barton originally had been sentenced to spend 12 years in prison — the first six on federal charges and the last six in Colorado on state charges. But because of a technicality, she was resentenced in March and was allowed to serve the sentences concurrently."
That "technicality" to which he refers is called "the law."
Thursday, June 26, 2008
The Rocky discusses plans for protests at this summer's Democratic National Convention.
It ridicules some law enforcement for its overreaching rules, and some protesters for complaining about where they can protest.
The Post takes the Bush administration to task for politicizing the Justice Department.
That's a valid criticism, but I'm glad Bush's Attorney General didn't oversee the burning of any cults or use the U.S. military to remove a child from the country and send him back to a Communist dictatorship.
Isn't the federal government great?
Perhaps we should let it run our health care.
The Post comments on two recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions it does not appear to have read. At least not well.
It applauds the Court's ruling in Kennedy v. Louisiana. The Court held that is was unconstitutional to execute someone for raping a child.
I am against the death penalty in all cases, so I have no problem with the ruling.
As a libertarian, I am in favor of limited government power. Since I do not trust the government to timely and efficiently pick up my garbage, I certainly do not trust the government to decide who it should kill.
The Post, however, manages to misinterpret both the law and the Bible in one passage:
The Denver Post has long opposed the death penalty. But even citizens who support capital punishment should recognize that the Louisiana law was an atrocious example of vengeance without reason, since it violated the Judeo-Christian tradition that punishment should be proportionate to a crime, not more severe than the crime itself.
As The Post argued earlier this year in opposing a failed attempt by state Sen. Steve Ward, R-Littleton, to authorize the death penalty in Colorado for the rape of a child, such disproportionate punishment violates the biblical standard: "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth."
I do not pretend to know anything about Judaism, but I do know that multiple eye-witnesses are necessary to invoke the death penalty under Judaic law. Rabbi Dan Polish explains: "[T]he defendant may not be put to death unless two (or in some cases three) eyewitnesses testify against him or her."
I do know a little about Christianity. Years and years of Sunday School as a child paid off.
Jesus, while standing on a mount and giving a sermon, said to forget "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." He had a new rule.
I quote from the King James Version,
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also."
Therefore, calling "an eye for an eye" a tenet of Christianity is simply wrong. It is akin to claiming that "parallel lines always intersect" is a tenet of geometry.
To quote "an eye for an eye" as a Judeo-Christian ethic is just lazy and simplistic. And wrong.
The Supreme Court based its decision on the Constitutional prohibition against "cruel and unusual punishment," not the Old or New Testament.
Next, the Post applauds the Supreme Court's ruling in Exxon v. Baker.
The Court reduced the punitive damages levied against Exxon for the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
According to the Post, "We welcome the ruling because we've long felt there should be some reasonable limit on non-economic damages in civil cases."
Well, the ruling in this case applied admiralty law. Most civil cases do not. The Post acknowledges the limited applicability of the ruling, but nevertheless overstates its effect.
As final note, I encourage people to read the actual decisions for themselves. (I have linked to both opinions above.) Press accounts of court decisions almost always contain errors. Don't rely on someone else's interpretation.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
The main criticism I hear from people when they learn I'm a member of the Libertarian Party and supporting Bob Barr for President is that I am "wasting my vote."
Voting for McCain is a wasted vote. Voting for Obama is a wasted vote. Sacrificing your vote to either of the two major parties is senseless. I don't agree with either of them, so they can't have my vote.
Another criticism is that Libertarians voting for Barr will just give the election to Obama.
It is incredibly presumptuous to assume I would vote for McCain under any circumstances. I would not. Every vote McCain loses, he loses on his own merits.
Another criticism I hear is that people won't vote Libertarian because they want to vote for a winner.
For one thing, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If everyone who ever said that voted for the best candidate and not for someone that "could win," Libertarians would have success. And success breeds success. The two major parties assume they will get your vote. Don't give it to them. Make them earn it.
And if you follow the statement to its logical conclusion, no one should vote for McCain, because he's going to lose.
And no one should have voted for Michael Dukakis, because he lost. Okay, that's a bad example. No one should have voted for Dukakis, but you get the point.
Vote for whoever you think is the best candidate. If everyone does that, we might see some change. If everyone limits themselves to the two major party choices, well, you see what they've left us with: A big time socialist who believes in limiting free speech and the Global Warming hoax - and the other guy is a Democrat.
The Post does its best to justify eliminating TABOR, which keeps the state government from raising taxes without voter approval.
Heaven forbid the legislature be forced to exercise restraint. They will not exercise it voluntarily.
Giving the legislature to power to tax is like giving an addict heroin and asking him to use it wisely.
The Rocky's resident wacky liberal compares the Bill Clinton sex scandal with George Bush's war.
He decides that lying about sex under oath is much better than being a war criminal.
Of course, there is no doubt that Clinton lied about sex under oath. Bush's status as a war criminal is pretty much a debatable issue.
Campos fails to make the distinction.
The Rocky's chief editorial writer questions the specifics of Governor Bill Ritter's proposed Colorado Promise Scholarships.
Why? Because there are no specifics, just promises for free college to unspecified students.
Ritter, of course, is in a position to paint any dissenter as being "anti-college" or "anti-opportunity."
I would counter that someone needs to be "pro-details" and "pro-taxpayer."
Ritter is neither.
The Rocky speaks out against the "Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008" currently pending in Congress.
It is a bailout of private mortgage companies that made bad business decisions.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
He won't get paid for those two games, so it affects Melo directly. It also affects the rest of the team and fans who want to see him play.
I have no idea what the NBA collective bargaining agreement allows, but would it not serve the same purpose if Melo was docked two games pay but still allowed to play those two games?
UPDATE: I posed this question to Rocky Mountain News Nugget beat writer Chris Tomasson, and he set me straight:
Thanks for the message.Thank you, Chris.
It doesn't allow it. If the Nuggets hadn't suspended Anthony, the NBA would have handed out the same penalty.
You can hear the whole thing right here, from YouTube.
Imus is being sarcastic and trying to be funny. Immediately before the Pacman comments, he states matter-of-factly that if you are in a nightclub you can expect shots to be fired.
He is joking.
Imus now says he was making a sarcastic point about black people being singled out by law enforcement. Maybe he was. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, because I don't like the idea of speech police having to pass on the merits of every off-hand comment.
Imus, like the rest of us, is subject to criticism. This time, however, I think it is unwarranted.
First, I must point out I wrote my piece on McCain's super-battery before I read Harsanyi's piece on the same topic.
Second, he did a better job of mocking McCain's silly idea than I ever could.
Harsanyi sums it up with his lede:
Some campaign ploys are a cry for attention. Others just empty promises. And sometimes, candidates prove that they have absolutely no clue what's going on.
Congratulations, John McCain, you've scored a natural hat trick.
The Post supports the FISA bill pending before Congress that would, among other things, "give retroactive legal immunity to telecommunications companies that helped the Bush administration's post-Sept. 11 spy efforts."
I'm a bit surprised the Post favors legislation that grants immunity to Big Evil Corporations. But, then again, the legislation is labeled a "compromise" and the Post loves compromises.
There should be no immunity, retroactive or otherwise, given to those that break the law. I find that a simple proposition. I have no idea if the companies in question broke any laws or not, but immunity absolves them of responsibility because the were "just trying to help the government fight the war on terror.'
That's not a good reason.
I also have doubts that the retroactive part of the legislation will withstand the Constitutional proscription on ex-post facto laws.
The Senate should vote down the legislation. It would be one more small step to regaining our civil liberties lost to the "War on Terror."
According to this Associated Press article, McCain said, "From now on, we will encourage heroic efforts in engineering, and we will reward the greatest success."
John, that's what the free market does. It doesn't need government largesse to make it work.
He fails to understand that if someone (or, more likely a team of people) invents his super-battery the market will reward that person with far more than $300 million.
The money the market provides will be given voluntarily to the inventor of the battery. It won't be necessary for the federal government to use taxes to reward the inventor.
If McCain is the best the Republicans can do, they deserve to lose the election. And they will.
At least Obama is true to his belief that big government is the answer to all of the world's problems. He is dead wrong and he is going to make Jimmy Carter's economy look good, but at least Obama has principles and is steadfast in them.
McCain is a political Wack-A-Mole machine. You have no idea where he's going to come from next.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Kopel takes the Denver Post to task for publishing "name, job title and compensation of more than 37,000 state of Colorado government employees, as well as employees of the University of Colorado and community college systems."
Dave believes, that even though the salaries are public records, the publication of the information was an unnecessary infringement on the state workers' privacy.
Gotta disagree with my man Dave. State employees work for the people of the State. The People of the State employee them.
Employers need to know what they are paying their employees. To suggest otherwise is untenable.
Campos compares the wacky 9/11 truthers - who believe in "some incredibly elaborate conspiracy theory in which the U.S. government staged the attacks to justify the so-called war on terror and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq" with Charles Krauthammer and Condi Rice.
He believes that Krauthammer and Rice are "as utterly unhinged from reality as the most extravagant imaginings of the 9/11 Truthers."
That's a bit much, Paul.
Krauthammer and Rice are wrong about many things. But they don't live in their mom's basement in a paranoid delusional state.
The Rocky leaves local issues behind in this editorial and delves into the politics of Zimbabwe.
Incumbent President Robert Mugabe is looking at losing an election, but said "Only God who appointed me will remove me."
I don't think he quite grasps this "election" concept. He does understand thuggery.
The Rocky points out "Mugabe's military, police and goon squads have been roaming the countryside, murdering opposition supporters, beating others and burning their homes."
The Rocky is against this.
The Emperor has no clothes, and the cleanup hitter has no cleaning tools.
Everyone has admitted it except Colorado Rockies' manager Clint Hurdle.
Helton has 7 homeruns, 27 RBI and is hitting .275.
He knows he should not be hitting in the four hole: "I think you have to earn your spot in the lineup. And as long as I'm not batting eighth or ninth, I'm going to do whatever it takes to help us win."
Helton told Kiszla "I just show up and play ... where (Hurdle) puts me in the lineup is his decision."
Hurdle needs to make the decision to put Helton in the sixth spot.
O'Neill is executive director of the Colorado Wildlife Federation. To her credit, she is smart enough to know that calling for an outright ban on new oil and gas drilling in Colorado won't sell.
She just wants it to "occur in a responsible and balanced manner." Who possibly could be against responsibility and balance?
The Post praises "Gov. Bill Ritter's resuscitated 'blue-ribbon' transportation panel," and its attempts to lobby the legislature for lots and lots of tax money to fix bad roads and bridges.
Not once does the Post even hint at cutting other programs to find the money it seeks. The only answer for the Post is raising taxes and fees. Cutting an existing program? Sacrilege.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
After listing the benefits the Democrats attached to the bill, the Rocky asks "How are we going to pay for all this?"
Another good question is how the Democrats can profess to be anti-war then agree to fund it?
The Republicans started this pre-emptive war and the Democrats pay for it.
Libertarians would not do either.
People that vote for either of the two major parties get what they deserve. More of the same.
The Rocky supports a new grand jury to investigate manipulation of "tax credits available from Colorado's conservation easement program."
Once again, legislation with noble intent creates an opportunity for fraud and abuse.
Ever notice how the road to Hell never has potholes? It gets repaved every time legislation is passed.
The Rocky calls for private help for the victims of the Mississippi river flooding. I applaud the Rocky for being subtle about it, but they do not call for the government, at any level, to help.
They put the burden on us, as individuals. That is exactly where it should be.
The Post discusses former Colorado State basketball standout Becky Hammon.
Hammon was the runner-up for the MVP of the WNBA last year, so she can play hoops.
For some reason, she was cut from the U.S. Olympic basketball team. She still wanted to play in the Olympics, and the Russian team wanted her to play for them.
They made her a Russian citizen, and she'll suit up for them in the Olympics.
USA coach Ann Donovan doesn't think much of Hammon's decision:
"If you play in this country, live in this country, and you grow up in the heartland and you put on a Russian uniform, you are not a patriotic person in my mind," she said.
That's sour grapes, Ann.
This is not new. Americans with 1/64th Greek blood played for the Greek baseball team in the last Olympics. Hell, some just had Greek last names and others thought Olympia Dukakis was good in "Moonstruck."
Ann, you cut her from your team. She wasn't good enough for you. She's good enough for the Russians.
Sounds like the coach might have a personal problem with Hammon, and she's scared the player she cut might beat her on the court.
I'll be pulling for Hammon in every game the Russians play.
Bob reminisces about how things were back when he was a kid "growing up on a hardscrabble farm in the northeastern part of the state in the 1950s."
He talks about how his dad and granddad used wind and solar back in the day. He then compares his ancestors to modern environmentalists who are trying to harness wind and solar power today.
This is where goes awry:
The funny thing is, my ancestors never knew they were pioneering environmentalists. They just thought they were poor folks getting by.
But they were rich in self-reliance and ingenuity — and I applaud the fact that our society is finally returning to those bedrock values.
Bob's ancestors didn't lobby for tax breaks and subsidies like today's "environmentalists." His ancestors were, in fact, rich in self-reliance and ingenuity. They did have bedrock values.
Modern "environmentalists" are rich in lobbyists and self-righteousness. Their only bedrock value is more power via legislation.
Obama once said he would accept public financing in the presidential race. The downside to accepting this taxpayer subsidy is that it requires you to accept no private money. You eat from the public trough, you can't eat anywhere else.
Obama realizes he can raise more private money than he could get from the public trough. It's a rare occasion, but the Post is correct this time.