Monday, January 31, 2011

Shaun White takes home the Gold!

Yesterday, Snowboarding champion Shaun White made history by becoming the first athlete to win four consecutive X Games gold medals in the SuperPipe.

If you don't know who Shaun White is, or have no clue what a Double McTwist 1260 is, or if you don't know what snowboarding is (it's like skiing, but less girly), here's a place to get started catching up:

Friday, January 28, 2011

Gandhi was a bad-ass

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was a bad-ass.

If you doubt it, see the 1982 'Gandhi' movie again.

"They may torture my body, break my bones, even kill me, then they will have my dead body. NOT MY OBEDIENCE!"

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bring Back Trial by Combat

The judicial duel is an ancient germanic tradition that has sadly decreased in popularity in recent centuries. While deemed barbaric by wussy modern standards, it had its advantages. It offered claimants and defendants the ability to settle the score the old-fashioned way, without recourse to expensive lawyers. If both parties agree to engage in a duel to resolve their dispute, why prohibit it? It's a consensual act.

As a matter of fact, it may already be legal in the United States: "The United States inherited its common law traditions from the English system after it declared its independence in 1776, with precedents before that date entrenched in the American jurisprudence, as the Rule in Shelley's Case in property law has. The British, however, did not abolish wager by battle until 1819 after Ashford v Thornton, as noted above, and since independence no court in the United States has addressed the issue of whether this remains a valid alternative to a civil action under the law.

So next time you are being summoned to court, consider asking the judge permission to beat the crap out of the claimant. (Or the defendant, if the roles are reversed.)

Monday, January 10, 2011

More gun control coming?

In the wake of the tragedy in Tucson, AZ, where Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head by a government-hating Glenn Beck fan lunatic, we can expect gun-grabbers to clamor for more gun restrictions.

I understand.

I am a supporter of the right of private citizens to be armed for the purpose of self-defense, but I don't want conservative talk radio fans crazies to get easy access to guns and assassinate bunches of innocents.

This is a tricky situation where I don't think it's easy to have your cake and eat it too.

The suspect in this case, Jared Lee Loughner acquired his weapon legally, and passed the standard FBI background check, as did Seung-Hui Cho in Virginia in 2007. Is it possible that this standard background check is not extensive enough?

Should suspected crazies be placed on a 'lunatic watchlist' and prevented from purchasing a firearm if their name is on the list? Who controls the list? Who decides whom belongs on the list? What constitutes 'crazy'?  Isn't everybody crazy to begin with? What if some stuck-up tea-totaling bureaucrat reads your Facebook profile and decides that you are crazy based on a drunken picture of you, and places you on the lunatic list, what recourse to you then have if you need a new rifle to go deer hunting?

Should the government violate constitutional protections against unreasonable searches in the name of public safety? Should the government confiscate 'dangerous weapons' in spite of constitutional protections of personal property? Under US Constitutional Law, that is a pretty hard sell.

Should the government mandate the registration of every single firearm (every single one of the hundreds of millions in the country) and the licensing of gun owners?

What about international smugglers and the thriving black market? What about the DIY manufacture by amateur mechanics and engineers with access to metal working tools and machining equipment?

During the German occupation of France during WWII, the nazis tried to disarm the French to prevent an uprising. They could not completely disarm the country: it is impossible to completely disarm a population without exterminating it. It's like fighting clostridium difficile with antibiotics; you go all out or you don't bother at all. Even in countries with the most restrictive gun laws, the criminal element still has access to weapons.

It is unreasonable to imagine that every weapon in the country can be registered. There are just too many of them. It is unreasonable to imagine that of the millions of citizens of a country that pretty much invented the repeating firearm in the days of horse-drawn carriages, none of them would be able to build firearms from scratch in his garage with a few metal pipes and hand tools. It is unreasonable to imagine that college-educated residents of an industrialized nation would lack the necessary chemical knowledge to concoct gun powder or a similar propellant for bullets. It is unreasonable that a country into which tons of illegal drugs are smuggled every day would be unable to unlawfully import weapons from a rogue eastern European or Chinese manufacturer.

Would more restrictive gun laws have hindered (or even deterred) Loughner and Cho? Perhaps. They had an easy time purchasing a weapon legally. Would they have spent hundreds of hours in a machine shop building their own weapons? Probably not. Would they have purchased one from a drug dealer in exchange for a  -censored adult act-? Maybe. Are Americans willing to undergo stricter criminal and mental health background checks prior to the acquisition of firearms? I don't know. But the new laws are coming. Because there are morons who abuse the system and give gun owners a bad name. And as always, the law-abiding majority pays for the mistakes of a few criminals and sociopaths.

The gun industry, and gun owners themselves, need to seriously self-regulate, or the government is going to come in and impose the regulations. If you don't keep your child-biting pit bull on a leash, and it runs off and bites a kid, animal control's gonna come to euthanize it, and it's going to be your fault because it's your dog.

I offer my sincere condolences to the families of the victims of this tragic murder spree, and wishes of prompt recovery for all the wounded.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Palin and Putin: A match made in the Bering Strait

The Putin photograph is authentic, the Palin photograph is probably a fake... I just thought the similarities were striking.

Mixed messages from TSA

The Transportation Security Administration (who has shown an eagerness to use full-body scanners to peer under air travelers' clothing, and to perform 'enhanced' pat-downs in which agents physically touch the genitals of  travelers) apparently does not know how to handle passengers who are actually naked.

21-year-old Aaron B. Tobey apparently took off his shirt and pants at a TSA checkpoint, and he was arrested for doing so. 

Let me wrap my mind around this: TSA can legally take your clothes off and take naked pictures of you, but if you take your own damn clothes off, that makes you a criminal. And if you write the text of the fourth amendment on your chest prior to taking your shirt off, that makes you an even more dangerous criminal. This is a confusing double standard. So is it legal to be naked or not? Is it mandatory? How are we supposed to know what this bipolar nanny wants from us?

The text of the fourth amendment reads:

"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."

Read the full story here: