Sunday, November 29, 2009

Quote for the Week

To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.

Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I pray everyone has a great day, spending it with those that matter most. For those who must serve today, thank you for your service, whether in our cities or abroad.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Quote for the Week

Be not intimidated, therefore, by any terrors, from publishing with the utmost freedom, whatever can be warranted by the laws of your country; nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberties by any pretenses of politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery, and cowardice.

John Adams

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wishful Thinking Never Hurt (or Stopped) Anyone

The U.N.'s Maritime Safety Committee says members should "strongly discourage the carrying and use of firearms by seafarers for personal protection or for the protection of a ship.

As we all know or should know, piracy has been a maritime profession for centuries. For a long time, there have been those who would prefer to take what belongs to someone else, rather than honestly get their own. Although the Somali pirates have monopolized the news lately, they are not the first to clock in for this profession, nor will they be the last.

Whenever pirates have gone “to work,” they have done so using whatever violence they have at their disposal. Modern pirates are no different. Balancing risk, opportunity, and reward, they select those targets that will provide manageable resistance, if any. Those who are capable of defending themselves are left alone. That’s why pirates hijack cargo ships and not Navy destroyers.

There is an obvious (at least to me) point to be made here. This recent idea that we need to play nice with the ruthless is absolutely mind-boggling. I cannot think of any time in recorded history where evil has willingly laid down in submission simply because they were asked to. Evil only understands the language of force. Warm fuzzies, pristine doves, and world peace bumper stickers mean nothing to them. They know only force, and force must be met with decisive force.

This idea seems to be lost on the Maritime Safety Committee. They have struggled with these pirates for years, and can offer nothing but unarmed resistance. The pirates have predictably ignored such a limp-wristed approach and continue to terrorize, steal, and kill. To that, the U.N.’s Commission would offer protest and sincere cries of, “Please stop and play nice!” Good luck with that. It hasn’t worked so far, but maybe you’re not placing your hands on your hips with enough emphasis or your finger isn’t wagging fast enough.

Let’s look at the tale of two trips. The first time the Maersk Alabama encounters the pirates, it becomes international news for all the wrong reasons. The pirates had the upper hand and all the attention for about 4 days, until our US Navy gave them the opportunity to die for their cause on Easter Sunday.

The second time, the pirates were just as brash and violent. This time, the Maersk was protected by armed guards. The pirates never even came close. They used firearms and a “long range acoustical weapon,” although at least one report says the acoustical weapon did not work.

There does not seem to be any doubt as to whether the firearms worked. The cargo and crew of the Maersk Alabama are safe and continuing on their way. As for the pirates? They're still missing. But that was (or should have been) part of their risk/benefit calculation.

I guess it’s too simple to make sense. Arm your ships and stop the pirates. Hopefully, for their sake, the pirates stop before they die. But that is their decision to make.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. (Edmund Burke)

Keep your cries of peace and keep frantically waving your signs about. But until the evil of this world falls at your feet, fight back when attacked. That’s your God-given right.

You keep your wishful thinking. But as for me, I still believe, “You don’t mess with the U.S.”

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

First Person Account of Fort Hood Shooting

Mr. Police Man has quoted someone's first-hand account of the shooting. There's a lot to say about what happened, but, for now, all I can say is ... wow.

Fort Hood.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Quote for the Week

Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.

Mahatma Ghandi

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Overheard on the Scanner Today

As you may remember, I like to listen to the police scanner. It's just one of the habits that confirm my weirdness. Here's what I heard today.

Dispatch to officer: “Be advised, subject has a history of committing suicide.”


I wonder how that works… Reincarnation?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Quote for the Week

If you don't have integrity, you have nothing. You can't buy it. You can have all the money in the world, but if you are not a moral and ethical person, you really have nothing.

Henry Kravis

Friday, November 6, 2009

Public Service Announcement #2

If you decide to buy live crickets to feed your daughters’ lizard, the pet store may package them in a plastic bag. If they do, please note that the crickets can chew through the plastic bag. Furthermore, please note that you may not notice the escape until it is too late, and even then, your wife will likely notice before you do.

Please don’t ask how I know that, just be a good citizen and take my word for it.

Ummm ... anyone know the phone number of a good florist?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What You Don't Know Will Hurt You

Several years ago, while in law school, I clerked for a law firm whose practice was limited to certain First Amendment issues. Part of my duties involved initial in-depth screening of potential clients. Several months into my tenure there, I called up a gentleman who was seeking our assistance. I started to question him about his situation when he interrupted me, albeit politely.

“Do you know what the First Amendment says?”

“I’ll tell you in a second. Let me get my book.”

“Well son, if you don’t know what the First Amendment says, how effective can you be in defending it?”


I promised him I would memorize it, call him back the next day, and recite it to him. I did.

I don’t remember whether we were able to help him, or even what happened to him, but that conversation has been with me since then. I have never forgotten the text of the First Amendment.

While I’m not saying that we should memorize the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, or the Bill of Rights, we ought to be intimately knowledgeable about what those documents say. Often, we know more about celebrity children than we do about the documents protecting the future for ours.

Because of that, we end up trusting the interpretation of others, without regard to their agenda as they put their spin on our rights. This spin might be relatively harmless when spouted by the local hot air supply at the barbershop, but it takes a more sinister meaning when it’s twisted by those entrusted to protect and enforce those very rights.

We must remain ever vigilant, and not trust our government to be able to effectively police itself. All they need to do is convince us that their way of interpreting our rights is correct. That's real easy if we don't know what those rights are in the first place.

Please visit Jennifer. She does a good job of pointing out what I mean.

h/t In Jennifer’s Head

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Quote for the Week

Experience is a good teacher, but she sends in terrific bills.

Minna Thomas Antrim