Date: 10/27/2007 13:40:17
A fine time was had by all last night at Pack 250's annual Halloween party and pumpkin carve. We're a bit sluggish this morning, and another late night is in the offing thanks to baseball's bizarre playoff schedule. Checking today's weather in Denver, it looks like there's going to be clearing skies and a pleasant fall like temperature near 60º. So why isn't this game being played in the glorious sunshine?
Turning to the news of the day, did you see that the "president" has slapped more sanctions on Iran? Did you see the price of oil immediately spike over $90? (Just in time for the winter heating season, I might add). Well, here's a thought. Do you think the sanctions are a threat to national security?
Washington, D.C. – The Libertarian Party has criticized the Bush administration's new sanctions on Iran, saying the sanctions only worsen an already delicate situation. Libertarian Party Executive Director Shane Cory says "the United States should pursue more dialogue and less saber-rattling when dealing with Iran."
"The recent sanctions of the Bush administration on Iran indicate the United States is preparing for a war with a country it knows very little about," Cory continues. "The talk of a potential 'World War III' and other harsh threats President Bush has used against Iran are extremely similar to the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq. The last thing the United States needs is another war. Nothing has been worse for the national security of America than Bush's aggressive foreign policy in the Middle East."
"Tough talk from Iran has been a trademark of their foreign policy for the last few decades," says William Redpath, national chairman for the Libertarian Party. "But it rarely goes further than words. This being the case, it would be a tragic failure on the part of the Bush administration to enter into another war after misinterpreting what may be nothing more than Iran's push for more geopolitical power. Should this be true, a political resolution may be available that can avoid the use of military force, saving countless lives and billions of dollars."
"A basic premise of warfare is to 'know thy enemy,' and I'm afraid that the President is rushing to war with an enemy he knows nothing about," says Cory, a U.S. Marine Corp veteran. "These newest sanctions are a precursor to more wanton violence in the Middle East that will eventually cripple our economy and endanger our national security."
You're probably aware that the SCHIP program has been in the news much in recent weeks. Ron Paul (R-TX) voted against the override recently, so he must hate children, right? Well, no. It's big government that he hates, and it might just be worth reading why congressional control of health care is dangerous for children.
This week Congress is again grasping for more control over the health of American children with the expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Parents who think federally subsidized health care might be a good idea should be careful what they wish for.
Despite political rhetoric about a War on Drugs, federally-funded programs result in far more teenage drug use than the most successful pill pusher on the playground. These pills are given out as a result of dubious universal mental health screening programs for school children, supposedly directed toward finding mental disorders or suicidal tendencies. The use of antipsychotic medication in children has increased fivefold between 1995 and 2002. More than 2.5 million children are now taking these medications, and many children are taking multiple drugs at one time.
With universal mental health screening being implemented in schools, pharmaceutical companies stand to increase their customer base even more, and many parents are rightfully concerned. Opponents of one such program called TeenScreen, claim it wrongly diagnoses children as much as 84% of the time, often incorrectly labeling them, resulting in the assigning of medications that can be very damaging. While we are still awaiting evidence that there are benefits to mental health screening programs, evidence that these drugs actually cause violent psychotic episodes is mounting.
Many parents have very valid concerns about the drugs to which a child labeled as “suicidal” or “depressed,” or even ADHD, could be subjected. Of further concern is the subjectivity of diagnosis of mental health disorders. The symptoms of ADHD are strikingly similar to indications that a child is gifted, and bored in an unchallenging classroom. In fact, these programs, and many of the syndromes they attempt to screen for, are highly questionable. Parents are wise to question them.
As it stands now, parental consent is required for these screening programs, but in some cases mere passive consent is legal. Passive consent is obtained when a parent receives a consent form and fails to object to the screening. In other words, failure to reply is considered affirmative consent. In fact, TeenScreen advocates incorporating their program into the curriculum as a way to by-pass any consent requirement. These universal, or mandatory, screening programs being called for by TeenScreen and the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health should be resisted.
Consent must be express, written, voluntary and informed. Programs that refuse to give parents this amount of respect, should not receive federal funding. Moreover, parents should not be pressured into screening or drugging their children with the threat that not doing so constitutes child abuse or neglect. My bill, The Parental Consent Act of 2007 is aimed at stopping federal funding of these programs.
We don’t need a village, a bureaucrat, or the pharmaceutical industry raising our children. That’s what parents need to be doing.
Lastly this morning, as we head into the holiday season, you'll probably be seeing a few drunk-driving checkpoints on your state roads. You might want to make sure you have your pocket guide to the constitution handy, particularly the fourth ammendment. Not that it would do any good, of course, as the supreme court has already decided that every driver is guilty.
Tens of thousands of innocent Americans are stopped each month at police checkpoints that treat every driver as a criminal. These checkpoints, supposedly started to target drunk drivers, have expanded to give police more intrusive power over citizens in many areas.
The demonization of alcohol is leading to a growing nullification of the constitutional rights of anyone suspected of drinking — or anyone who might have had a drink anytime recently. In 1925, the Supreme Court declared,
It would be intolerable and unreasonable if a prohibition agent were authorized to stop every automobile on the chance of finding liquor, and thus subject all persons lawfully using the highways to the inconvenience and indignity of such a search.
But as the 20th century progressed, judges and prosecutors gained a more rarefied understanding of the Bill of Rights.
In the early 1980s, police departments began setting up checkpoints to stop and check all cars traveling along a road to see whether the driver was intoxicated. As law professor Nadine Strossen wrote, checkpoint “searches are intensely personal in nature, involving a police officer’s close-range examination of the driver’s face, breath, voice, clothing, hands, and movements.” The checkpoints were extremely controversial. In 1984, the Oklahoma Supreme Court banned the practice in that state, declaring that drunk-driving roadblocks “draw dangerously close to what may be referred to as a police state.”
In 1988, the Michigan Court of Appeals, in a case involving driver Rick Sitz, also concluded that the practice was unconstitutional. The Michigan Department of State Police appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. As professor Strossen observed,
The Sitz plaintiffs argued that mass, suspicionless searches and seizures at drunk driving roadblocks violate the Fourth Amendment because they are not based on any individualized suspicion.
But the Supreme Court disregarded the privacy concerns and approved the checkpoints. In a statement that epitomized some judges’ blind faith in police officers, Chief Justice Rehnquist declared,
For the purposes of Fourth Amendment analysis, the choice among reasonable alternatives remains with the government officials who have a unique understanding of, and a responsibility for, limited public resources.
Justice John Paul Stevens dissented, stating,
On the degree to which the sobriety checkpoint seizures advance the public interest ... the Court’s position is wholly indefensible.... The evidence in this case indicates that sobriety check points result in the arrest of a fraction of one percent of the drivers who are stopped, but there is absolutely no evidence that this figure represents an increase over the number of arrests that would have been made by using the same law enforcement resources in conventional patrols.
A Michigan officer who questions a motorist [seized] at a sobriety checkpoint has virtually unlimited discretion to [prolong the detention of] the driver on the basis of the slightest suspicion.... [The] Court’s decision ... appears to give no weight to the citizen’s interest in freedom from suspicionless unannounced investigatory seizures.
He characterized the checkpoints as “elaborate and disquieting publicity stunts.”
In the Sitz decision, the Supreme Court concluded that since checkpoint searches were equally intrusive on all drivers, no individual had a right to complain about an intrusive search. But that stands the Bill of Rights on its head — reading the Fourth Amendment to require the government to equally violate the rights of all citizens, rather than to restrict government violations of any citizen’s rights.
Naturally, once the Supreme Court sanctioned drunk-driving checkpoints, police expanded their use. As long as the car is stopped and the policeman is there, why not check to see whether the driver is wearing a seatbelt — or has his registration with him — or has any open containers of alcohol in the car — or has any guns hidden under the seat or in the glove compartment? And why not take a drug-sniffing dog and walk it around the car to see whether the pooch wags his tail, thereby automatically nullifying the driver’s and passengers’ constitutional rights and entitling police to forcibly search the vehicle?
So....some food for thought on this dreary Saturday. Hey, at least it's rain. We're not anywhere near in as much trouble as other parts of the country, but every little bit helps.22 comments
Okay folks, strap on your tinfoil hat - it's going to be a bumpy ride...
It seems that every day the news is more jaw-dropping than the previous day's... the Administration's gall increases, and our country seems to slip further and further into chaos. With natural disasters of Biblical proportions, a missing nuke, and members of an Administration looking at a cutoff date of 14 months when they have to vacate the Halls Of Power and their crimes may finally be brought to light, one has to wonder what sort of contingency plans are already in the works. It would only require six easy steps to take us from Democracy to Dictatorship, and none of them are far-fetched:
1) Major event ("natural" or terrorist)
2) Bush taken out of office
3) Cheney assumes the Presidency
4) Blackwater brought in surreptitiously
5) Marshall Law enacted, enforced by Blackwater
6) Elections suspended, complete coup d'etat
So let's break this down step-by-step...
TriSec is indisposed tonight, so the game blog is going to be short and sweet... :shrug:
TIME: 8:29 pm EDT
VENUE: Fenway Park
Boston: Curt Schilling
Colorado: Ubaldo Jiménez
It's the World Series, fer chrissakes. So blog already!141 comments
NEW BLOG FEATURES
Date: 10/25/2007 22:54:08
I have made several modifications to the blog. They are:
- Added a "Help" link: This displays a help screen for new users.
- Added a "Latest" button: This displays the latest blog entry with comments.
- Added a "Search" button: Allows for simple keyword search of the blog entries.
- Added a "roll-up" button: This "rolls up" the main blog entry while in the Comments screen. This eliminates the need to scroll down the screen every time to post a comment when the main blog entry is long. The button is like a toggle, and will roll-up/roll-down every other click.
- Added a time format display option: Now time can be displayed as AM/PM, or as 24hr military time.
- Graphics: Changed the menu button graphics (necessary because of limited space).
Hopefully, this will make the blog experience even better for our members! Please let us know immediately if you encounter any problems...15 comments
Compare and contrast...Qualcomm has about 20,000 evacuess and the Superdome had about 25,000Continue reading...
When hundreds of thousands of Southern California residents were evacuated from their homes in the wake of this week's devastating fires, memories of Hurricane Katrina couldn't help but surface as scores of evacuees ended up taking refuge in the city's Qualcomm Stadium.
But after two days, what has developed here in Qualcomm could hardly stand in sharper contrast to the spectacle of Katrina, especially the chaos in Louisiana's Superdome.
Qualcomm is clean. It is organized. It is, in many regards, at times even festive, with clowns to entertain children who are wearing dust-particle masks to protect their lungs from the hanging smoke and blowing ash.
Fall Classic 2007
Date: 10/24/2007 23:03:16
Well, it looks like the weather is going to hold and we'll be able to get that game in tonight.
Boston is in the unaccustomed position of being the favorite...and it's got some people thinking.
Have we lost our angst?
Life was simpler when we were Idiots.
On its face, this day in Boston, this week, this entire October, couldn't be any better. The Red Sox play in the World Series tonight for the second time in three years. The Patriots are undefeated and seemingly unstoppable. Boston College is ranked number two in America.
"Heaven in New England," yesterday's New York Times declared, in a column in which our mayor bragged about living in a "city of champions." USA Today has proclaimed the Red Sox to be the "biggest attraction in baseball." Fox executives have sore knees from their prayers of thanks that Boston, not Cleveland, has landed in the World Series.
We're rolling sevens everywhere. The perennial bridesmaid is now the odds-on favorite - two-to-one against Colorado, according to the Vegas line. Phones are ringing. Far-flung friends and family members are calling - tell us what it's like, fill us in on the excitement, don't spare a single detail of the city's singular swagger.
So shouldn't it feel better than it does?
The first order of business is to admit it to ourselves: 2004 was more meaningful. Back then, and in the 86 years that preceded it, we knew who we were. We were hapless, though never hopeless. We were the ones that always had something to overcome - a curse, a seemingly in surmountable deficit, a little-brother syndrome.
In the end, until that fabled October, we usually lost, but that was OK. In defeat, we had identity. We got to be the luckless loser. A team, its city, and indeed, an entire national following, thrived on it.
Tom Menino was sitting in his City Hall office yesterday saying what needed to be said. "This is different. In 2004, we never had a taste." He paused, then added, "When you think about Boston, 1 in 3 Bostonians is 20 to 34 years old. You and I know what it's like to lose. They don't."
Which means they don't know about our angst. It was our blanket, our source of comfort, our common bond. If angst were a natural resource, we could have had factories packaging it up 24 hours a day and shipping it to every part of the world.
As it was, we claimed all the angst for ourselves, though the good people of Chicago seemed to have their own supply. Red Sox fans could always blame our misfortunes on New York's payroll, Boston's mismanagement, free agents' unwillingness to come here. It gave us our status as perennial underdogs, the lovable spectacle. We wore that suit, frayed as it sometimes seemed, very comfortably.
Without it, what have we become?
And here's the answer we know but dread: Another free-spending, big market team that buys its way into the postseason with every expectation that it will win.
Dan Shaughnessey also has an interesting column today...Dream teams all around
TIME: 08:00 P.M. EST
VENUE: Fenway Park
Boston: Josh Beckett
Colorado: Jeff Francis
And don't forget to check out the Head to Head Comparison
But I said it before...if teams played the way the looked on paper, sports would be very boring and predictable indeed.43 comments
California is burning. The news coverage has been amazing, from the up-close of a reporter filming his own house burning down to the wide angle of satelite photos showing fires and smoke covering areas larger than some smaller states in the union. Fortunately, there have been very few deaths, and the state has done a good job of managing the evacuation of nearly a million people, but the costs will be horrendous. Could it have been prevented? Is this a harbinger of things to come?
It's been speculated that a warmer planet and changing climate patterns have already begun and may be partly at fault here, although the Santa Anna winds and smaller fires are the norm. But then - so are other climate cycles that seem to be getting worse every year.
From this article
describing the melting of polar ice:
(The video at the link is like a punch in the gut)
The relentless grip of the Arctic Ocean that defied man for centuries is melting away. The sea ice reaches only half as far as it did 50 years ago. In the summer of 2006, it shrank to a record low; this summer the ice pulled back even more, by an area nearly the size of Alaska. Where explorer Robert Peary just 102 years ago saw "a great white disk stretching away apparently infinitely" from Ellesmere Island, there is often nothing now but open water. Glaciers race into the sea from the island of Greenland, beginning an inevitable rise in the oceans.
Ask a Vet
Date: 10/23/2007 10:25:31
Another week at war, our 1,679th day in Iraq.
We'll start this morning as we always do, with the latest casualty figures courtesy of Antiwar.com:
Since war began (3/19/03): 3834
Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03): 3695
Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03): 3373
Since Handover (6/29/04): 2975
Since Election (1/31/05): 2397
Other Coalition Troops: 303
US Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 449
We find this morning's Cost of War
standing at $462,335,150,000.00
Turning to our friends at IAVA
, we find an interesting column by a returning Iraq vet. It's something we have spoken of often, the "What, me worry?" attitude of most Americans during a time of war, seemingly without a care for what is going on overseas.
Fire and rain
Date: 10/22/2007 12:05:02
Good monday morning. First, before we go any further... let me send a HUGE round of applause to Red Sox Nation!!!! I think it is safe to go outside again, untie your shoelaces and do whatever you do regularly. The Red sox will be meeting up with the Rockies for the world series this year. Wow. Congrats. And yes, sympathies to the Indian fans out there.
So I woke up to the sound of rain this morning. Strange sound. The south could get anywhere from a half inch to an inch today. Not nearly enough, but we will take anything we got. Metro Atlanta is facing water rationing.
Yes, it is bad. So I am sure you could assume that people are pulling together to do something right? Wrong, instead, many in the tonier areas of town are trying to install wells on their property so they can continue watering the precious landscaping. You can read about it here. Make sure you don't spit out your coffee
Last week, Laura Askew, co-owner of Askew Drilling Co. in Jonesboro, scheduled a homeowner who had spent some $25,000 on plantings and is now past the 30-day window allowed for watering professionally installed landscaping. The total outdoor watering ban took the home-owner by surprise.
"He was real upset about it," she said.
With neighbors now routinely squealing on each other for outdoor illegal watering, drilling a well has become a sensitive proposition. Several homeowners who had wells drilled in recent days did not return phone calls or declined to talk on the record. The Grayson homeowner said she didn't want to call attention to her property.
A Boston Hat Trick?
Date: 10/21/2007 23:08:11
We've got two in the can already today.
The Patriots game was over in 5 minutes today, and they won going away, 49-28. Squish the Fish indeed!
There was a battle of the "Original Six" at The Vault today, and Da Broons took that one in dramatic fashion, winning with the last chance in a shootout, 1-0 over the Rangers.
Can the Sox finish the trifecta for New England today?
TIME: 08:00 P.M. EST
VENUE: Fenway Park
Daisuke Matsuzaka, 15-12, 4.40
Jake Westbrook, 6-9, 4.32
We've been here before. October 20, 2004.
Will we see history repeat itself?18 comments
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