Saturday, April 08, 2006

Uranus has a blue ring!

(Via Drudge)

No, really. The Planet Uranus has a blue ring.

Get you minds out of the gutter.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Will the last person to leave Massachusetts please turn out the lights

The Massachusetts legislature has passed a bill requiring all citizens to have health insurance. Yes, you are reading that correctly.

The bill, approved by the heavily Democratic Massachusetts legislature on Apr. 4, marries conservative and liberal ideas. For the first time ever in the U.S., all state residents would be required to have health insurance -- dubbed an individual mandate. Gov. Mitt Romney, a moderate Republican expected to run for the White House in 2008, champions this as a conservative victory that leads residents to take responsibility for their own health insurance. He says he plans to sign the bill soon, although he may first try to change some smaller provisions.

I'm not sure what kind of Kool-Aid the Massachusetts politicians are drinking, but it must be some good stuff.

Some highlights:

  • Huge government subsidies to help income individuals buy insurance (There goes your taxes)
  • All companies with 11 or more workers required to pay for health insurance (There goes prices or the small companies out of state or both)
  • Beginning in 2008, individuals without health insurance will be subject to penalties

  • I suspect there will be some interesting court challenges coming soon.

    Cause of death: bad politics

    If you keep up with the news, you may have read the sad tale of Abigail Rae, the 2 year old who drowned in England recently. The saddest part of the tale is that she could have been saved by Clive Peachey, a bricklayer who drove by her moments before death.

    Why didn't he stop?

    "I kept thinking I should go back. The reason I didn't was because I thought people might think I was trying to abduct her."

    It's an indictment of our culture, both in the US and in England, than an adult doesn't stop to help a child that's obviously in a dangerous situation because he's afraid of being labeled a child molester.

    Wendy McElroy has an excellent editorial on the subject, and I urge you to read it.

    The entire subject hits home for three reasons. Each has it's own little story.

    The first was the national hysteria a few years ago over allegations, almost all of which proved unfounded, of massive child abuse in daycare centers. I was in the area of one of the worst examples, the Little Rascals Daycare Center case. Despite a complete lack of physical evidence and some astounding claims by the children, people were convicted and lives ruined in a case of what turned out to be mass hysteria.

    The second was my own sighting of a little girl, maybe 3 years old, walking beside a busy road on Christmas Day. I had my wife and children with me, and Mrs. Freeholder and I agonized over whether or not to stop and see why this child was alone in this area. We decided, for the same reasons that Mr. Peachey did, that this might not be the wisest course of action.

    The third was on a field trip with my son's fourth grade class to our state capital. During a restroom break, a fight broke out in which one boy, who I assumed was with our school but in another group, had another smaller child pinned in a stall and was threatening to drown him. I broke it up and sent the little miscreant out of the room. I'll swear that this kid was seriously thinking of taking me on. I've had people look at me like that before, and it isn't a look you mistake.

    Well, it turned out he was from another school. The chaperone decided she wanted to make a federal case of it, and was screaming at the top of her lungs. The Capital Police got involved, and I was fortunate enough to have two adult chaperones with our group and every one of the kids in my group crowding around me and defending my actions to the officer.

    I've never been so proud of a group of kids in my life. I fully suspect they kept me from spending an entertaining afternoon in the company of the police.

    In the end, nothing happened, and the harridan went off to do whatever harridans do when they don't get their way.

    I've chaperoned two field trips since, but I have decided that I won't get involved in any more fights unless the kids are in the group I'm dealing with.

    Is it any wonder Abigail is dead?

    Tuesday, April 04, 2006

    Going to a gun show in Greensboro, NC?

    According to information from the Virginia Citizens' Defense League, prepare to be harassed by our friends from the ATF.

    The fun bunch who brought you the Richmond/Showmaster Follies are now taken their proven brand of entertainment on the road, bringing it not only to Greensboro, but to
    • Atlanta, GA
    • Albuquerque, NM
    • Baton Rouge, LA
    • Camden, NJ
    • Columbus, OH
    • Fresno, CA
    • Hartford, CT
    • Houston, TX
    • Laredo, TX
    • Las Vegas, NV
    • Los Angeles, CA
    • Miami, FL
    • Minneapolis, MN
    • New Orleans, LA
    • Philadelphia, PA
    • Pittsburgh, PA
    • Tampa, FL
    • Tucson, AZ
    • Tulsa, OK
    as a part of the 2006 Violent Crime Impact Team Tour.

    Somebody ought to make up some t-shirts (a la concert t-shirts) to sell at gun shows in these cities.

    Monday, April 03, 2006

    Mordechai Aneilewicz Memorial Rifle Match

    The Claire Files is sponsoring the 2nd annual TCF Combat Rifle Postal Match, in memory of Mordechai Anielewicz and the fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising during WWII. You can get the full details here.

    If you need an excuse to get out to the range, this is it.

    Sunday, April 02, 2006

    There will be order!

    Five girls in Ohio are facing criminal charges for playing a real-life version of Super Mario Brothers:

    Five teenage girls from Portage County face potential criminal charges after attempting to play a real-life version of Super Mario Bros.

    The Portage County Hazardous Materials Unit and Bomb Detection Unit were called in to downtown Ravenna on Friday morning after seventeen suspicious packages -- boxes wrapped in gold wrapping paper with question marks spray painted on them -- had alarmed residents.

    Boxes were found at the Immaculate Conception Church on West Main Street, the Portage County Courthouse, Deluxe Pastries, the corner of Cherry Way and Main Street, Reed Memorial Library, Ravenna High School and a residence at Sanford and Main streets.

    Five girls -- age 16 and 17 -- claimed responsibility for making and placing the packages. The girls said they found an Internet site that included step-by-step instructions for creating replicas of blocks featured in the game.

    The Ravenna Police Department will be working with the Portage County Prosecutor's Office regarding possible criminal charges as a result of the game.

    This is insane. I'm not saying that what the kids did isn't dumb in this day and time; it is. It's the reaction of the police/prosecutors that I take issue with.

    Kids are kids, and kids do dumb things, mainly from an over abundance of hormones and a deficiency of experience. How we react to these things is very telling about us as a society.

    Many years ago, most locales had "peace officers", and their job was to keep the peace. They weren't out to arrest people just to pump up their arrest records or get brownie points with some government agency. Think Sheriff Andy Taylor in The Andy Griffith Show. How often did Andy arrest someone? Damn rare, in my recollection. He didn't have to--he kept the peace without having to arrest and charge every person who committed some minor infraction or who made a foolish mistake of judgment.

    However, over the years, we've "professionalized" our police. Rather than getting hired and learning from the old hands what does and doesn't work, now they go to Basic Law Enforcement Training and innumerable other classes and come out as "law enforcement professionals". Then we allow the state and federal governments to militarize them in the holy name of "The War on Drugs" and "Homeland Security" and so on. Now we've got Barney Fife, except with body armor, automatic weapons and lots of ammo--and no Sheriff Taylor to keep him reigned in.

    When you have law enforcement officers as opposed to peace officers, you have such things as young girls being charged (and mark my words, they will be charged with something, even if it's littering) for playing games.

    Americans, in large part, value security over anything else, and they're willing to give up all of their God-given rights to those who say they will protect them. Most people are too lazy or too afraid to investigate that odd noise in the backyard at 2 AM--they'll call the police, then cower under the blankets waiting for help to arrive.

    The time is coming, and probably within the lifetimes of those who read this, or perhaps our children's lifetimes, when we either give up all our rights to the government and take what freedom they're willing to allow us, or we dismantle what's been put in place and create something new.

    Which side of the barricades will you be on?